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FIREFLY: You Went Past (Inara/Nandi)

Written for the twelfth round of femslash_minis: Minor Characters. I was assigned settiai, who requested Inara/Nandi, memories, tea, and their years in training.

Title: You Went Past
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Firefly
Ship: Inara/Nandi
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Then the stitches came open.
Notes: No spoilers



There are times when Inara slips away from Serenity's crew, away from the camaraderie and the cacophony.

She settles into the solitude of her shuttle, and lights a candle, burns a bit of incense. She prepares herself a cup of tea, and breathes in the scent of the jasmine laced through the steam.

She relaxes into the deep cushions of her couch, and sips her tea, and remembers.


*


Even outside of training, initiates must always act as if observed.

Inara reclines on the divan, her wrist twisted just so under her chin. Nandi kneels to pour, pauses to realign her elbow with the slant of her shoulder. The window is open, and a cool breeze rattles the three bells hanging from the pane.

"Admit it," Inara says, as she draws her ankle up her leg, flips her sandal off with a practiced twitch. "You like the tea ceremonies."

"I wouldn't dream otherwise." Nandi smiles. "And I do really love the tea."

She extends her arm, a teacup balanced between three fingers. Inara takes it, dips her head the proscribed number of degrees.

Nandi watches her as she puts her lips to the rim of the cup, and when Inara exclaims and sputters, Nandi laughs.

"Nandi!" Inara swings her legs down, poise forgotten. "This is sake!"

"Is it?" Nandi raises her eyebrows, all innocence. "That's strange."

Inara narrows her eyes, then tips her head back, letting the liquid rush over her tongue.

Then she sets the teacup back on the table, and makes an open gesture with her right arm. "If you would."

Nandi nods her head, and pours her another round.

*


Inara finds incense calming. Not the smell of it, but the act. She likes the grain of it against her skin, and the flare between her caged fingers as she lights a match.

From long practice, her hands are steady, gracefully making the motions a ritual. When Nandi's arms snake around Inara's waist, the stick of incense doesn't even tremble.

Inara sets it in its burner, and together, they breathe in deep. She closes her eyes to relish the arch of Nandi's body against hers.

"You ever think about it?" Nandi asks, her voice a low purr against Inara's neck.

Inara opens her eyes. "About what?" Nandi releases her, and Inara shivers in the cool evening air.

Nandi reaches around her, and picks up the incense. "Where this comes from. Where it goes."

Inara turns, slips a hand against Nandi's hip. "I don't understand."

"I never--" Nandi pauses, and her smile is brief, closed. "It's nothing. Just a passing thought."

"Are you sure?" Inara asks.

Nandi shakes her head, and answers with a kiss instead.

Inara forgets the half-begun conversation, and doesn't remember it until the end.

*


The closet looks ransacked, and the futon is askew on the floor.

Inara stands in the doorway of Nandi's quarter and stares.

Nandi emerges the other side of the room and tosses a bracelet into her pack. "I figure we can find passage to the Outer Rim, set up a place of our own." She paces to the closet, yanks a robe from its hook. "The Guild doesn't do much business out there. Settlers must be panting for a taste of quality." She stops, and grins wide at Inara.

The moment stretches too long, and Nandi's smile fades.

"Inara?"

Inara shakes her head, and steps back. "I'm sorry," she says, and then she walks away.

*


There are times when Inara remembers, and regrets not saying goodbye.

She wonders, in those moments, what Nandi would have said to convince her.

She wonders, until the day she gets the distress call.



###

A/N: Title and summary taken from Anne Carson's Entegegenwärtigung Town. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Linked on femslash_minis.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
cadence_k
Feb. 21st, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
This is so lovely! I don't always feel connected to Inara but you really made me feel for her. I can really see her thinking about Nandi over all that time. Once again, I'm blown away! :)
voleuse
Feb. 21st, 2006 09:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!
settiai
Feb. 21st, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
You did an amazing job. *smile* I loved it.
voleuse
Feb. 21st, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. *g*
lillianmorgan
Feb. 21st, 2006 08:56 pm (UTC)
Lovely piece of writing. I do like how you move the memories from happiness to an edge of bittersweet loss.
Even outside of training, initiates must always act as if observed.
I like that sentence, it's very regimented just like its meaning.
voleuse
Feb. 21st, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
hermionesviolin
Mar. 22nd, 2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
She likes the grain of it against her skin, and the flare between her caged fingers as she lights a match.

LOVE.

And oh, ouch, Nandi inviting Inara to go with her to the Rim.
moodfic
May. 12th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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