The Two companions : Part VI
(In which our hero, Jorge, settles some old affairs, honors some old traditions and pulls off the hat trick with Serenity's lovely ladies in our little ship on the edge of the black.)
As Serenity climbed out of the ionosphere of New Kashmir, River was idly singing Mera Joota Hai Japani from an old Bollywood rasta about leaving while she danced in the pilot’s seat and calculated atmospheric drift, relative velocities and trajectories to their next destination. However the majority of her brain was devoted to analysis of the complex emotions she had observed in the two couples in Inara's shuttle yesterday. That was a puzzle worthy of her attention.
Mal looked on in bemusement and then drifted down into the galley thinking _ “She’s going to outgrow this boat someday and I’m going to need a new pilot.”_
Jorge had just come up from the hold where he had been leading a capoeira
session. Even Jayne and Zoe were learning the fundamentals after Jorge explained
that it had been invented by a people who were in chains and that it could even
be used if you were in handcuffs. Jayne figured that it could be a useful job
skill and Zoe just wanted an excuse to kick Jayne's butt.
Taking a seat beside Jorge, Mal inquired “You ever want to be a pilot, Jorge?”
“You mean besides a shuttle? Well when I was a kid, I always figured I’d end up
a ship's pilot. My Ma was a pilot and I think my Pa was one too.”
Mal queried “You think your Pa was a pilot?”
“Yeah” Jorge responded “'cause intra-crew procreation sex was always prohibited
due to inbreeding fears. The mother’s usually knew but occasional ship meet-ups
were often multi-day free-for-alls so that alliances could be maintained between
ships without jealousy rearing its ugly head. Kids were never told their dad's
name. Pilots and mechanics usually got first crack at using the engine room and
that’s where My Ma told me I got started and I know that she had a weakness for
“Huh.” Mal responded.
“Property and rank always got handed down from Mother to daughter and my only hope of an officer’s berth was to become a pilot. However, as a kid, what I did was hang around with the cook and the loaders and mechanics where I could make myself feel useful. I felt that men were mostly for muscle and in a fight if necessary. Decision making was a female prerogative. Those old ramrod officer women always intimidated me and I didn’t like being up in Officer Country. I probably wasn’t cut out to be one anyway.”
“Yeah,” Mal replied “I felt the same way about officers and that's why I didn't
become one either. But what you say about female inheritance and tradition got
me to thinking. My ma came from a ship's crew family and Reynolds was her and my
grandma's name. I always thought that the reason I didn't know my Pa's or
Grandpa's name was cause my Ma and Grandma got taken advantage of and abandoned.
And I always thought that my sister inherited the ranch on Shadow cause I ran
off and joined the Independents. But If what you say is true of ship's family
traditions, I didn't run away from any responsibility. I just avoided being a
ranch hand for my sister.”
Mal continued “And take Zoe: her ma was a captain but she was the sixth daughter and there was no way she could inherit anything and all her older sisters just used to boss her around. At least with me, she only has one boss, plus if I get kilt, she gets the boat.”
Jorge laughed “Welcome to the world of the super-numeraries. I guess we're both soldiers of fortune for the same reason. But look at it from a female point of view: why would a woman who worked hard all her life on a ranch or a ship want to turn it over to some Hun-dan <bastard> just because he consented to be the father of her children?”
As Mal sat lost in thought, Jorge continued. “You know that a woman can be just as fond of her freedom and her self-possession as a man. Just because she falls in love doesn't dictate that she has to stop being herself or give up everything she is to being somebody's 'helpmate'. Even if they have a kid, they don't become the property of some man. What happened at the Heart of Gold should have taught you that.
“Oh, you heard about that, huh?” Mal responded.
“Yeah, that has become a favorite story among companions. You're big damn heroes with them and other sex workers.” Jorge continued.
“Great, now I'm a hero among wh...” his voice trailed off as Mal remembered who he was talking to.
“Careful now, I can hurt you” Jorge quietly remarked.
Mal relaxed when he realized that Jorge was only kidding. “I'm sorry. I'm just starting to realize that being a companion isn't about selling your body to the highest bidder.”
“That's right, Mal, what's being sold is skill, insight, knowledge, expertise and understanding. The fact that the body is involved is no different from an actor, dancer, surgeon or even a soldier.”
Mal grinned “Yeah, when we got paid, it was for putting our asses on the line and for making sure our asses stayed where they were supposed to be when things went south. When you put it that way, being a companion is just as respectable as anything I've ever done and probably more respectable than a lot of things I've done.”
Another thought crossed Mal's mind. “Say, you wouldn't be speaking in the interest of a certain female companion, would you?”
Jorge threw up his hands. “Actually, Im speaking against the expressed wishes of a certain female companion and I don't want her to find out about it. Besides, as hard headed as you both are you probably deserve each other.” Suddenly sober he continued “Mal,trust me, she really does love you and as her friend, I want her to be happy. I think you're a good man and I sense from the way you look at her that you are just as much in love. Anyway, if you bring her pain, I'll just track you down and shoot you.”
“Yes, you know, politely.”
Mal and Jorge both laughed and Jorge continued “But seriously, you and Inara have been my saviors and I owe you at least dinner. I have enough food that I liberated from my cousins to fix a meal for both of you. If I fix it for the crew, Jayne will just eat most of it without even noticing anything about it.”
“Ok, given that line of reasoning,” Mal replied “If Inara accepts, so will I.”
Inara accepted with some misgivings after Jorge asked her to accept the meal as his parting gift and begged her to give Mal a chance if he could be on his best behavior.
Jorge began to prepare for the meal. The next evening, ship's time, Jorge escorted Mal to Inara's shuttle where she greeted them dressed in a very fine kimono bound with an ornate obi around her waist. She served them both with tea and had them remove their shoes and socks prior to washing their feet. Jorge then taught Malcolm how to wash Inara's feet. When Mal remarked on her long graceful toes, Jorge and Inara looked at each other. When Jorge started to speak, Inara interjected “It's my story, I'll tell it.”
“Prior to leaving Earth-that-was my family were miners in the astroid belt before the invention of the gravity drive or generators: real old school rocket prospectors. Because what we did was considered highly valuable to society, we were given one of the last gene-mod permits before they became totally illegal. The mod allowed us to grip with our toes in micro-gee when we needed both hands. The mod bred true and all my family have long toes. In fact my nickname was stub-toe because everyone else had much longer toes. It was said that my great aunt would dial down the grav in her room and hang from the ceiling to sleep. She claimed that it improved her posture”
Mal looked at her to tell if she was pulling his leg but then decided to play along. “I always wondered about those sharp little canine teeth of yours. Hey, let go of my thumb with those toes!”
Jorge just grinned and handed Mal the towel to dry off her feet. “We are all equals now. Let me pour you some fruit juice batidas and then I'll get the food from the galley.” Jorge brought back a beautiful seafood vapata and moquia that he had spent all afternoon and a great deal of saffron and other aphrodisiacs in it's skillful preparation. As Jorge shared the the meal, he kept them well lubricated with cachaca and rum. He also kept the conversation light but kept praising Inara's beauty until he actually had her blushing.
When Jorge started to feel his own arousal he judged that it was time to withdraw and he bid them both good night, placing a do not disturb sign on the hatch to Inara's shuttle.
Feeling slightly uncomfortable in the absence of his 'wingman' and anxious not to say the wrong thing and screw up once again, Mal decided to complement Inara on the job of redecorating that she and Kaylee had done on her shuttle.
“Thank you Malcolm, especially after you made a special trip to get my things back on Bena. It's not easy living out of a trunk, even if I'm not entertaining clients.”
“I was glad to be of assistance but I'm real sorry that the mess I got you into ruined your reputation with your upper class clientele. I realize now that you probably had to work pretty hard to develop your client base.” Mal apologized.
“Mal, My client base turned out to be as fickle and undependable as the petty criminals who made up yours. I never told you this but I did not come from wealth. I was not royalty descended from a priest or priestess. My family were as hard working as yours and even though I enjoy the finer things in life, I can live without them. Right now I am enjoying dealing with people who have to work for a living. I don't see it as as a step down but more like a breath of fresh air.”
Inara continued “As the saying goes, a door doesn't close without another opening somewhere else. At least now your reputation is 'solid' as Niska put it and people see you as someone who can get the job done no matter what. I just hope that your reputation of having a conscience doesn't get in the way of your client's general lack of one.”
Mal grinned at the backhanded compliment. “I bet you say that to all the fellas.”
“No, Mal I don't and at least I think it's time to be honest with each other. It's just you and me in here. You've never been my client and after Miranda I'm not really your tenant anymore. I chip in to help keep this boat in the air and I'm as much a part of this crew as anybody else. We've faced death, hardship and hard times not to mention thieves, thugs, con-artists, psychotics and cannibals. You don't own me and I don't own you, we're pardners.”
Mal replied “Careful now, you don't want to be putting yourself in the same category as Jayne if you call yourself crew. But,... well yes, I guess we are business associates and pardners in a way.”
Inara answered “Mal, I believe the term is criminal co-conspirators.”
Mal smiled “And I do believe that you are the most beautiful criminal I've ever conspired with.”
“Why Malcolm, I think that is the nicest thing you've ever said to me.”
“Try not to faint, occasionally I do say the right thing.”
“And you should stop while you're ahead.” Inara leaned forward to begin what became a very passionate kiss. When his hands started to roam, she stood and unwrapped her obi and let it fall to the floor. Her kimono hung open, revealing an expanse of skin along her left side and a gaping darkness between her hip and the garment. As he stared into that looming darkness that defined her waist, the awareness came to both of them that if he reached into that darkness to pull her to himself, everything would be different. The 'verse would change for both of them. As Mal looked up into her eyes, Inara spoke “Mal, when we were trapped in that horrible vault at Mr. Universe's I vowed that if I ever survived I would never be afraid again. I also vowed that if you came back alive I would never be afraid to express my feelings for you.”
Mal's eyebrows came up “What do you have to be afraid of?” he asked without thinking.
The corners of Inara's eyes crinkled she smiled in bemusement and remarked off-handily “Well, Jorge did promise to come back and shoot me if I screwed this up.”
“You too? How well does he shoot?”
“Wings off a fly, Mal.” She joked.
“We better do it right then.” as he reached into her kimono to pull her close into a mutually hungry kiss.
Both their hands were busy, his with exploring the beautiful mystery of the woman he had wanted so long and hers with unbuttoning his shirt and exploring his chest. When she was pushing his suspenders off his shoulders, Mal felt her unbuttoning his pants and looked down in astonishment to see her toes nimbly releasing and then stroking his manhood.
When he looked up in astonishment, Inara's eyes were laughing. “Malcolm, you are so attractive when you're speechless.” She then urged him to his feet and started kissing again while removing his shirt and he followed suit with her kimono. Inara pulled him close with her arms around his neck. As she lifted one leg to wrap around his waist her big toe grasped the waistband of his tight pants and she shucked him like an ear of corn. Suddenly, both of them were as God (or their mothers) made them.
Malcolm grinned at her “You're pretty handy with those toes of yours, aren't ya?”
Inara grinned back “Captain sans pants, you truly have no idea.” and hooked his knee from behind with her ankle. They both tumbled into the bed which quickly became the setting for a mutual carnal devouring. The white-hot passion fueled by pent up desire more than made up for the lack of finesse. Still, he managed to hold himself back until she peaked before joining her in a wild bucking climax.
Son flys in and is taught that things have changed as he is changed...
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