Title: Not Another Night
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things Firefly belong to Joss Whedon, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Author’s Notes: Written for the “Lost in Space” survivor game a the TtH Forums. You know what that means? Guaranteed character death.
It was just another night in the life of a Companion. Glamorous. Amorous. Living a fantasy for just a few hours’ time.
Yes…just another night.
Except, it wasn’t.
Inara held her breath as her captor’s eyes roamed over her, a sneer curling his lip up. Revulsion gnawed at her stomach. He hadn’t touched her. Not in the way that he had paid good money to, leastways. No, just shoving and pushing from him.
She wasn’t rightly sure where things had gone wrong. Last night had been with a high ranking official. Tonight was with another gentleman from the same city, in fact. He had come with high recommendations – something she would be sure to look into when she got out of this situation.
If she got out of this situation, that was. Night had long since faded into morning and yet he hadn’t made any demands of her or anyone else, near as she could tell. Just glared. Glared and pointed his gun at her every so often.
Her mistake was coming to his home, perhaps, instead of asking him to come to her shuttle. There she would have had the upper hand, or so she wanted to believe at that moment. There…none of this would have happened.
There she would have been that much closer to having a way to contact Mal and the others to get some assistance. True, she never would have lived it down. The dear Captain would have pestered her forever about having to rescue her from one of her own clients, of that much she was quite sure.
But she would have been safe.
And Mal very much liked to play the part of the dashing rescuer. He would have strutted around for days on end, silently proclaiming that he was a hero to anyone that could stand to look at him for more than a few seconds.
Despite the fact that he would have been obnoxious over rescuing her. That he would never have let her live it down –
She would do anything to see him right about now. To feel safe.
Because the gun-toting lunatic on the other side of the room most certainly did not make her feel safe. Gun-toting lunatics never did, in her experience.
Well, except for Jayne, of course. But he was a gun-toting lunatic of an entirely different caliber. She actually liked him, for one thing, whereas this one in front of her? Not so much so.
Or… at all, as the case was.
She shifted, her back sore from too much time spent in one position. Sitting on floor pillows was only really so grand for the first hour – every moment after that was pure torture.
Inara’s gaze snapped immediately back to her captor. It was the first time he had spoken since… well, since this all began the night before. The look on his face, though, brooked no disagreement. Nor did the gun in his hand.
“Whore,” he snapped with disgust.
The word was a slap in the face, just as it was meant to be. Training allowed her to let it roll over her, though. The anger, the pain. He was just a crazy man, anyhow. It didn’t matter what he thought of her.
Not like when Mal said the same thing.
“Your lot ruined her. Ruined my baby girl.”
From silence to a veritable fountain of babbling. Still, he made sense. Of a kind. His ‘baby girl’ had obviously taken up with Companions. Perhaps trained to be one?
The gun was pointed at her head quicker than she would have liked and her heart skipped a painful beat. Forget asking him what had happened or trying to defend herself and her fellow Companions, Inara thought. This was about survival and only survival.
“Stupid…dirty… whores!” He shouted. The finger on the trigger was shaking along with the rest of his hand. It lowered slightly, no longer pointed at her head, just her heart.
Twitch. Shake. Twitch.
With every jitter of his hand, Inara’s breath caught in her throat. It wouldn’t take much for the gun to go off. It wouldn’t take nearly enough pressure for it to blow a hole right through her. Just the right twitch…and she would be quite dead.
Where the hell were Mal and his crew when she –needed- them?
As if her thoughts were enough to summon those very demons, the door flew open. She saw it just out of the corner of her eye. Heard the bang as it hit the wall behind it.
Saw Mal’s eyes go wide and Jayne lift his gun. A blast and her captor was dead. She didn’t have to look to know it.
“Mal –“ She blinked in surprise at her whispery, thready voice.
”’Nara, just stay still,” Mal was calling, striding across the room. “Zoe – get the doc.”
Inara felt it then, pain. Hot, searing pain. She looked down. Blood was spreading across the golden gown she was wearing. Right over her chest. The tear in the fabric was a clue to what had happened, though one she didn’t need.
She shuddered. It hurt. A lot.
He caught her when she fell backwards, unable to sit up any longer, and she heard him start screaming for Simon. Where the hell was Simon, he was shouting.
Did it matter?
She was dead.
“I –“ she coughed. Harder to breathe now. This was what dying felt like.
“Don’t talk,” he hushed her again. “You need to just lie there while we wait…”
The darkness was closing in, starting with the room behind him. It was all she could do to keep her eyes open, looking at him. At least the pain had faded.
But didn’t Mal understand? She just wanted to tell him she loved him.
And she thought, as the darkness closed over her and she took that last breath, that maybe he’d said it back to her.