I always wanted to see them together. As a lot of fans, I guess. So I wrote my own version of their reunion, hope you'll like it :)

I wrote this story listening the song Hate and Love (Jack Savoretti, feat. Sienna Miller). You could do the same!

Some short explanations about this story : I'm french, and I originally wrote it in french. But I wanted to share it with others fans. So I thank my friend Philomene for her time devoted to the translation, and bytemite for the valued, relevant comments and modifications to improve it! This wouldn't have been published without their help.

Now, enjoy :)


SUNSHINE AND RAIN

Everything you are is everything I'm not

Night and day, light and dark

He took a step forward into the room.

He didn't say a word.

He didn't call her.

He remained silent.

A ghost.

And yet, she immediately recognized him.

She hadn't even turned her head.

She had just heard a step. Just a presence.

Everything I'll need is everything you've got

All in your hate, all in your love

She was delicately brushing her long hair at her dressing table when she noticed a shadow in her spotted mirror, lingering in the doorway, on the threshold of her sanctuary. The same that was haunting her thoughts and her reality with memories of the past and glimpses of an impossible future. It was here. It was real now. The captain of Serenity had come for her again.

She had looked forward that moment for so long.

She had dreaded it so much.

She had wished he would come to take her away.

She had wished he would never come back.

You say that we're different

I feel the same

You tell me you're leaving

I'm here to stay

Those last months had been too nerve-racking for Mal.

Not only had he suffered hardships in business, but as a captain, he also had to take decisions his crew had often disapproved of. The harmony of that very crew seemed to have been put in jeopardy when she left. Relationships changed but did not deteriorate. Not yet. Kaylee bore a grudge against him for having let Inara leave the ship, River became dull, which had been making her brother worry more and more about her, Jayne was being as quick-tempered and anti-authority as ever since worries were growing in number. Even Mal himself would retreat into silence and isolation more and more often, an attitude which Zoe and consequently Wash, reproached him for less and less gently.

Inara had gone.

And the alchemy she brought had gone with her.

All of a sudden he remembered her sharp words : "I'm leaving".

That was worse than a punch. Worse than a cruel, meticulous incision with a scalpel. Those words were a well-handed saber and cut his heart in two. The ground was giving way under his feet as she turned her back to him, with tears she could barely hold back. But there was nothing he could have done. He had not tried to hold her back. The attack had been too brutal. It was only a while after that his heart had started bleeding. And it had never healed up.

Among the members of Serenity, Book was the only one who had remained true to form. Observant and clear-sighted. He was the one who had forced Mal to face his repressed feelings. He was the one who had driven Mal into a corner until he had him see the truth : Inara was the cause of all this, he had to admit it. For the crew's sake. And especially for his own sake.

The crew missed her kindness, gentleness and patience. He missed that too. He had only been a mere shadow of his former self since she had gone.

He despaired that she would haunt him endlessly, over and over again, from that picture he had kept of her on the desk in his bunk. He missed her face. He missed her voice. He missed her glances and her light touches.

He would go and take her back. He had made up his mind.

The only thing he had to do was to get in touch with Petaline. She had kept a close relationship with the young Companion.

She would know where to find Inara.

My strength is your weakness

My heart is own

Your voice sprays my silence

Then we're alone

There he was, standing, motionless, on the threshold of the room. The bedroom was in semi-darkness. Inara had decorated it to her taste and Malcolm could recognize all he had never managed to forget : dark red hangings, transparent curtains on which the candle lights were dancing, a tea set on a coffee table. Some incense sticks were burning on a console, infusing the room with that overwhelming heavy and dizzy atmosphere of relaxation.

Inara slowly stopped moving. Her arm which was holding her comb had frozen in the air and her left hand which was gently smoothing her hair down was now lying on her knees, tense.

Long seconds passed, which deepened the silence.

None of them dared to move. Maybe for fear of breaking the magic of the moment. Or of making a foolish mistake which would definitely turn impossible all the possibilities each one had figured out in their respective isolation.

"Come back. Come back aboard Serenity."

He had whispered these words. They were still hovering in the air as he saw her bend her head. She was still sitting, with her back turned to him, but he was able to clearly see she was disturbed. She was clenching the handle of her comb and the rest of her body seemed to have slightly sagged.

He had meant to keep the same tone in his request. But his muffled voice had made it sound like a prayer. A plea. And the young woman had noticed that emotion.

She put her comb down gently on the shelf and stood up. A long discrete sigh floated around her.

Malcolm Reynolds was feeling pangs of hope and anxiety. She was reacting, not rejecting him. But her resignation hurt him bluntly.

Inara made a point of not facing him. Keeping her head down, she stepped away from her dressing table, as if it were to give an impression of countenance.

"Please. Inara."

He sounded pushy.

He stepped closer.

She could not run away.

Not without looking ridiculous.

She did not want to.

She did not want him to see.

She did not want him to have pity on her.

She did not want him to decide, once again, to protect her.

But she could neither resist that power of comfort, tenderness, tortured passion that came out of that man.

He stepped closer until he stood just behind her.

She could not but turn around.

Still unwilling to look up to him.

Malcolm perceived her unwillingness, and without rushing her, he gently kept on forcing her limits.

He softly put his hand on the young woman's arm.

"Inara?"

He did not see her close her eyelids painfully under the effect of his warm voice . She wanted to control her emotions. She meant a lot to him. As much as his own life. And she definitely refused to be a burden to him. To Serenity.

He slipped one of his hands under her chin, forcing her to lift her head.

Only then did he notice.

Her silent tears.

And her bruises.

She saw the shadow of wrath in his eyes.

His eyelids quivering.

His jaw stiffening.

She could feel his fingers slightly clenching her arm.

She closed her eyes.

Reacting on absolute instinct was his best way to show her his attachment to her. Once more, his silence, the depth of his glance and the touch of his hand let his weakness slip through instead of his words, so rare and evasive.

The stranger who had dared beat to her did not know what demon he would have to deal with. Mal would be determined to revenge the humiliation she had undergone. She knew it. He'd never allow anyone to get away with a disrespectful deed towards a woman, even to a Companion. Let alone to Inara Serra. Whoever attacked her indirectly attacked Mal. She had always known it.

He could be blamed for being impulsive for too often it would make him play the part of the white knight instead of knowing his place. He killed for vengeance or justice without the slightest remorse. He was tough, rebellious, demanded liberty for him and his crew even if he had to trespass on others.

However, Inara knew that while he seemed so arrogant and provocative on the surface, he was actually a man deeply hurt down inside. Someone who would build up walls around him but for the sole purpose of survival, for him and his crew.

Someone who could indeed sometimes kill in cold blood but for the sole purpose of mercy for a Reaver victim.

Someone who would brave torture, and who would proudly taunt a psychopath crime lord.

Someone who asserted his authority, sometimes violently, but only when the challenge would disrupt the equilibrium or safety of the crew or his ship.

She also knew that the fragile and hurt adventurer he gave his trust reluctantly, but when he eventually would he trusted wholly and completely.

She knew that he could drop the barriers and give free rein to his feelings in a burst of laughter during a meal with everyone, or make hers melt with the caress of one of his blue-eyed glances round a gangway.

She knew that he could be extraordinarily compassionate and sink in some deep despair when one of his own was lying unconscious in the sick bay. That he sought justice and was careless about the consequences even against his good sense and better judgement. Even when the least expected and most wanted person by the Alliance appeared secretly on board. Even when the one he felt he had to protect had first inspired him mistrust and dread, and he had by then no idea where all that was to lead him. Even when he crossed the Gates of Hell straightforwardly.

She knew that at that very moment he was being torn between feelings.

She could read so deep inside him.

Mal was uncompromising.

Whether in love or fury.

And the one that was growing inside him was bitter and merciless.

But he tamed that rage. And remained silent until it was perfectly under control.

"Who did that to you?"

He sounded rougher than he would have liked.

"You don't need to know, Mal."

He narrowed his blue eyes. Slightly. Once again, he did not know whether she was standing up to him or avoiding him. She had always managed to keep him out of her business. The farther she kept him away from her "work", the better it was for both of them. She could not, no way would she have allowed him to keep an eye on what she was doing. She would never approve of having to explain herself to him, had it been with the generous intention to protect her. It would have gone against that liberty and independence she had been so proud of since they had met.

But what else could she do?

Then, slowly, in a rush of tenderness and compassion, Mal withdrew his hand from the young woman's arm to get closer to her face. Unable to move, Inara was like imprisoned by the connection of their gaze, as if it was whispering something. His trembling fingers on her cheekbone made her shiver. Without trying to flee, she noticed Mal's look on her purple bruise. His thumb gently kept on touching her skin lightly, as if driven by the mad hope to heal her, or at least to relieve her pain.

Imperceptively, she let her head lightly rest on his overdaring yet so careful and generous palm. This abandonment barely lasted a second but long enough for their eyes to meet again and fully grasp the meaning of their intentions.

Inara refused Mal's unspoken invitation and gently loosened his grip.

She stepped backwards.

She kept her distance again.

She looked down.

Unable to control that feeling of uneasiness. Or was it shame ? Or desire ? Or all this mixed together? Definitely. She could not tell.

The captain's hand remained frozen in the air, alone, before falling down along his body resignedly.

"Do you know him?" he asked after a while so as to force her secrets as well as to give himself countenance.

He would not let go until she told him what happened. He needed to know. It suddenly appeared vital to him. A pressing tyrannical urge that would not let him rest until satisfied.

But Inara kept objecting to him taming her. To give herself over to him.

Her pride, her stubbornness not to let the man she adored have any influence on her drove her to flee. Once more.

"No. "

Behind the harsh tone of this laconic answer lied some weariness.

Mal took his chance.

"There's a 'but'."

The young Companion sighed discretely. Her shoulders relaxed and she turned round looking down.

Was she already giving in?

Mal did not want to run any risk and waited.

But she tried to dodge once more.

"This happens, Mal, and you know it. I cannot control everything, even if I endeavour to carefully select the men I meet. "

He stepped towards her.

"When did it happen?"

"Mal, please, don't. Stop it."

"You're asking me to stop? One of your … clients has obviously taken it out on you and you're asking me to stop?"

"As far as I know, I am no longer part of your crew. So I do not have to explain myself to you and you don't have to feel responsible for me anymore."

Her words struck home, touched his soft spot. She had just reminded him the reason for his coming. Suddenly, the ex-rebel felt passionately close to that woman both fragile and independent. He could not, he did not want to leave without her. Therefore he had to talk her into going with him of her own free will. Mal had no idea how he would succeed. So, he decided to react by instinct. He usually did. And often succeeded.

"That's not the point, Inara. A man hit you and that's it. Nothing is going to prevent him from coming back, whether you like it or not. So let me help you."

"Mal, I can handle the situation by myself, as I always did. If it can reassure you, I crossed his name out of my list of potential contacts for good. He won't set another foot in here ever again."

"And you think that will stop him? Do you really think your benevolent punishment will deter him?"

"Nothing in his form or request foreshadowed his reaction. I've already had bad surprises and I will have some more. That happens, whether or not you try to help."

"The risks of the business," he scoffed. "You can't really think that."

Malcolm got closer again.

Their tone of voice had become harsher, more exasperated.

Looking in the eye of each other, their gaze conveyed a feeling of wrath mixed with compassion.

"Mal, what I mean is just that you can neither foresee nor control the reaction of the other men, no matter how well-intentioned or chivalrous they are. "

"You've resigned yourself then? Why? Why do you always have to accept without a word otherwise those sons of bitches who have no esteem for you?" Mal burst out, pointing accusingly to the door.

"Why do you always have to interfere in other people's business? You'd never have seen anything if you hadn't come!"

He had crossed the red line.

Overwhelmed by their abandonment none of them had realized that their faces were now only a few inches apart.

Mal was sinking in his rage and Inara was holding back itchy painful tears.

She could see the pulse in his throat tremble under the effect of his fury and his nostrils quiver impatiently.

He could feel her short breath, her fingers clutching her satin dress.

And there they stood, rigid, hung to each other for long seconds.

The inexorable force that was magnetizing them to each other was too powerful for them to fight it back.

Little by little it was turning into an urge.

She needed Mal as her shield, her equilibrium, her catalyst.

He needed Inara as his guardian angel, his moorings, his vital force.

He had to avenge her.

To help her.

To protect her.

To soothe her.

To love her.

A sudden irresistible gust of desire was prevailing over the intermingled feelings.

Without thinking, instinctively, he yielded to it.

He bluntly seized Inara's face in his hands and tightly pressed his lips on hers.

He breathed in against her mouth, deeply, languorously. He was drinking the fragrance of her skin, the flavour of her lips. He was breathing her in with every inch of his soul. Sweet and carnal caress. His hot breath drifted on the corner of her lips for a second.

He did not realize immediately that Inara was not reacting the way he had expected and hoped.

She remained motionless.

It was only a few seconds later that he felt her lips shiver against his and pucker with a sob.

Not only did she not answer but she was also crying.

He panicked.

He was so sure though….

He was already so annoyed with himself for having forced her, for having hurt her.

He should not have.

Not after what she had been through.

Not after their never ending story.

He slowly loosened his grip on her but did not want to estrange from her. Not yet. He could not come to terms with that idea.

So, with his eyelids still painfully closed, he lowered his forehead against the one of his Companion and tried to get his breath back and come round.

What a fool! He went too far, too fast, he ruined everything. He lost all hope of getting her back on Serenity.

He was about to be overwhelmed with rage. How would she forgive him?

As he was trying to calm down that whirl of emotions he heard her whisper muffled by another sob.

"Mal…"

Unexpectedly, she framed in her delicate hands the distraught face of the man who did not dare to move and answered back to his assault.

Her cheeks were covered with tears, her lips were still puckered, she swooped down on Mal's, appealing to his caress, kisses and desire.

No need to beg him, he let himself get carried away, intoxicated. Inara invited him, encouraged him and revealed herself as he caressed her.

Blinded by their passion, unconscious of their gestures, they quickly sank in the depths of their sensations.

But the more they tried to assuage that desire that had been possessing them for so long, the more they were possessed by an inextinguishable craving for each other. Nothing could satisfy them. They knew it. They had always known it. They knew that if they yielded, it would permanently torment them like a never ending blaze of sensations. They were unable to have a calm, serene and healthy relationship. It was so complicated between them. It had always been so complicated. But it was far too late to have any regrets and turn back the hands of time.

So they kissed twice as passionate, more and more audaciously, more and more eagerly and let themselves carried away by a last gust.

Mal made love to her with languid fierce, and Inara finally abandoned herself to the man she had been avoiding until then, without the slightest restraint or remorse.

They lived that moment with all their hidden suffering, repressed desire, what was left unsaid, all the bursts of tenderness that had bound them to each other.

The two bodies were linked, united into each other and for each other. They responded to each other in unison and melted together but still wanted so much more. They pressed together desperately, as though they could cross the physical boundaries between them and crawl into that fire underneath their skin, access something deeper, more absolute. The frustration and the struggle feed into their lust, their love. With his face buried in her ebony curls spread over the silk sheets, Mal was clinging on to her shoulders, holding her strongly tight against him.

Her soft and impatient hands ran up and down her lover's back and firmly lingered on the hollow of his back to drag him further along.

They panted with pleasure, with the pace and rhythm of natural skill and passion, with surrender.

Their embrace became more urgent.

Their gestures became more nervous.

Their breaths quickened.

Their senses suspended and blazed.

Bliss.

Their bodies were heavy. Worn-out.

Time to get their breath back.

To come back to reality.

To realize they would have to handle the consequences of that impulse.

They remained locked motionless in a tight embrace.

They did not dare to move.

They did not dare to look at each other.

Delicate and ephemeral eternity of a soap bubble.

After a few minutes, Malcolm's fingers brushed a bronzed shoulder. He slowly looked up at Inara's face lying next to him and found her both sated and saddened. He rose on an elbow, held his head in one of his hands watching her watching him, wishing she would confide in him.

She was beautiful.

The candle lights made her skin glow, her hair shine, her look unfathomable.

She was calming him just as she had inflamed him a few minutes earlier.

She was his opposite and complement.

He could not manage without her just as he knew she could not manage without him.

But he also knew that she would never agree to live with him as long as she would remain Companion. And he had never really thought about it, but he was not sure he could agree with it either.

She was his. No matter what she said.

And he could not bring himself to let her continue her masquerade. No matter how many times she had told him that this was what her life was made of, that it was part and parcel of her, he could neither bear nor agree with her to take again the risk to be in front of scornful and violent men.

Her being a Companion appeared to him as a poor excuse that both had been using all that time. He would make her accept. His love for her would convince her to come back to him and quit her past life. He would know how to tame her spirit of independence, to find her a way to live differently.

Long seconds had gone by already and he was deep in thought, looking at the arabesques drawn by his forefinger on the young woman's shoulder, from the basis of her breasts up to her neck.

She looked away, somehow embarrassed.

"Come with me. I need you."

She closed her eyes before looking in Mal's direction and plunged her dark eyes in those of the man who had loved her. Who had treated her like no one ever did. Who had totally devoted himself to her and become vulnerable unlike any other man in her arms before.

"If what you say is true, what are your plans for us?"

"I'll have to find us a double berth."

She muffled a chuckle, surprised by the levity. For a moment, her face gleamed and her eyes sparkled, and he was almost distracted, captivated by her.

"We'll improvise," he added. "I don't want your status of a Companion to put you in jeopardy."

"Without that job I'm nothing and you know it, Mal."

"Don't say that. I'm sure you can figure out some…arrangements. Without having to sleep with the strangers you meet."

She sighed, resigned.

"You know that it won't prevent me from coming across malevolent clients."

"Is it what happened with the last one?"

Inara flinched slightly. And yet, Mal thought he had noticed a veil of fear. Brief but real.

"What happened?"

His voice was softer, more confident. Any wrath had now disappeared.

"I don't know, I think he was drunk. He…"

She was tense. Every inch of her body had imperceptibly stiffened.

She nervously pulled the silk sheet up to hide her breasts.

She eventually eluded the problem, but Malcolm did not give up.

She was hiding something from him.

"He what? Why did he beat you?"

Another sigh. Silence.

"He was looking for the whore of Serenity."

It shocked him violently.

Mal's heart pounded with rage and panged with guilt.

Even so, he managed to utter something.

"What did he want from you?"

"To hurt me. And deliver a message to you."

Her tone was harsh and cold like freezing rain.

Mal stood up under the effect of the revelation. No way. That bastard did not hesitate to use her to hit him!

He was unable to utter a word, a sound. He stared at Inara, flabbergasted, with set jaws.

"Before leaving he told me he had been sent by Niska who was giving you his best regards. He added that he would be delighted to rip off your other ear including the rest of you if you ever defied him again."

He had a lump in his throat. He was seething with rage, barely overriding the fear.

Not only was this son of a bitch still alive, but he also knew what his weak points were. And he did not hesitate to attack them so as to hit him right in the heart. Today it was Inara, who would it be tomorrow?

He was definitely not going to wait quietly for this scum to attack each member of his crew.

He had to finish with him for good.

Now he was the one who stiffened. He was about to jump out of bed when the arm of his companion held him back.

"There's nothing you can do by now Mal. Don't act without thinking. It would be suicidal."

"So what should I do then? Sit idly by?"

He wished he were sympathetic, even so she had been an unexpected bait. But he had spat that question out as if it were venom.

Niska was really capable of corrupting him from the inside even when he was absent.

"No. You can rely on your crew, and you have some well-informed sources. You can set a scheme to entrap him. He's not invincible. He just wants to impress you. Take control back."

Be cautious. Protect the rear. Watch out, as long as necessary and then act. Obviously.

He was secretly grateful to her not having tried to deter him. She knew he would hunt him down relentlessly so there was useless to try to reason him. All in all, she knew him better than he thought. His muscles somewhat relaxed. He sighed deeply.

"I'm sorry."

Inara rose up, hugged the strong torso of her captain from behind and kissed his shoulder.

"In the meantime, don't let him ruin your life. What matters is to have Serenity fly, isn't it?" she said, forcing a smile.

He loosened her grip to face her.

Her loving and caring face ended up convincing him.

He put back a black curl behind her ear, let his hand linger on her neck and kissed the lips of his lover languidly.

"And she'll fly all the better if you're on board."

ooOoo

Still covered in dust and grinning, Malcolm Reynolds was coming back from the cockpit where he had thanked Wash for his legendary skillfulness with a pat in the back.

The mission had been achieved just in time, as usual. Wash had anticipated on a potential rout and with Kaylee's help he managed to start the engines on time.

They had only a few seconds to get aboard before the ship closed her doors.

The Captain loved those fits of adrenalin which made him feel so alive. He had the feeling he had his place in the universe, to be useful.

And now, those stairs.

That corridor.

The satisfaction of having accomplished his duty was little by little giving way to a feeling of impatience.

Whenever he came back from a mission, he knew she was waiting for him.

Just like him who would also be waiting for her whenever she was coming back onboard.

Always in the same place.

Always in that corner of that corridor.

One of the quietest nooks and crannies of Serenity.

Sunshine and rain make a beautiful thing

As he caught sight of her he stopped for a second. She gave him her nicest smile in relief.

He gazed at her, she looked elegant and radiant in her long Japanese smock, even in that semi-darkness.

He slowly walked to her, careful not to break the spell under which they would each time reunite.

He smiled to her, sinking his blue eyes in hers.

She asked him innocent questions about his mission to which he answered in a humourous and ironic detached tone.

Their faces were very close when they talked to each other, they usually did. Like two butterflies whose wings would skim the flame. Just to know what it feels like. Just to relish that attraction that would always appear between them.

A promising look, a conniving smile.

Maybe they would come to terms with that passion which was consuming them.

Maybe they would find some equilibrium, eventually.

END


This is not a real end. This had to be, but it haunted me. So, I'm writing now the next episode... Who wants Niska back? :)