Chapter: 6 / ?
Fandom: Firefly / Serenity
Characters/Pairing: Crew, Mal/Inara
Disclaimer: I don't own Firefly. It's just for fun.
Summary: A few years post Serenity the movie. Totally AU and made up from there.
Warning: Non-con and torture ahead and probably more to come. I’m evil, what can I say?
Previous Chapters: 1|2|3|4|5
Inara had never been more humiliated in her life. She had never been so self-conscious of her curvaceous physique. And she had never been treated as if she were an object and not a person. Or perhaps she had been treated that way and just hadn’t realized it. After years of being solely with Mal, her perspective had changed and she wasn’t certain of whether she liked that fact or not.
As it was, after Atherton had forced himself on her he had dressed her up in the most revealing of dresses. It was a wonder to her why he had her wear anything at all. He had adorned her body with jewelry, informing her that after they got through this and once she was his, the jewels would no longer be his. They would be hers. He seemed to enjoy showing her what he could give her that Mal never could and she attempted to make a show of enjoying it also.
Sooner or later there would be an opening, a moment that she could slip through the cracks and run away from this place. She knew that she couldn’t rush into it. She had to do it right. If her attempted escape resulted in failure she would incur his immediate backlash, something that could potentially harm not only herself, but the child too. Mal would never forgive her that. He had never said it in so many words, but through veiled comments and wistful grins she knew that there were times when he wanted to have a family.
Over the last two years he had asked her to marry him twice and both times she had turned him down. It was her opinion that marriage ruined everything and she didn’t want to ruin what she and Mal had. In some respects Mal was every bit the traditional man. It was part of what made him such a mystery. He was rugged and lived on the edge, but only because he felt that he was forced there by the Alliance. Much of what his mother had raised him to be was still there beneath the dirt smudged cheeks and calloused work-worn hands.
While she had never expected that they would be, neither proposal from Mal had been entirely romantic. One came in the form of an offhand suggestion and another had come in a frustrated demand. Maybe that was a small part of her that was still stuck in the past. In her mind a proposal of marriage came in a neatly wrapped package without any loose ends and what if’s. At the moment she was regretting both of her refusals. They seemed petty and unimportant now. Most of the fights that she and Mal had were petty and unimportant. But since Miranda, they had made an unspoken agreement to never quit fighting; with the Alliance, with the world and with each other.
How she longed for one of those petty unimportant fights now.
She fidgeted with the pale purple gown Atherton had picked out for her to wear. It hung loosely on her shoulders, the neckline of both the front and the back falling low, well past her chest and her shoulder blades. The hem was up near her thighs, something she wasn’t used to unless she were wearing one of Mal’s shirts. Atherton had said that it was easy access in every way, something that continually echoed in her mind.
That continual echo was the reason that at the moment she was trying to remain as still as possible save for the occasional adjustment to keep the dress in place, covering all of the right parts of her body. Atherton sat across the room at his desk. He was on the phone and after a few business phone calls, Inara was almost positive that he was speaking to someone about Mal now. The tone in his voice changed from pure etiquette and business to a cocky arrogance with a hint of amusement. It was as if he had a set of different personalities that came out during certain moments.
When the phone call ended, Atherton grinned at Inara and walked closer to the loveseat she sat on. He sat down next to her and fisted a bit of her hair to pull her closer. “You know were I the man I once was, I would claim victory and push the Alliance to let him go.”
As he held her close to him, he began to comb his fingers through her hair. “But our encounter years back changed me. So really, you only have yourself to thank for this mess.”
“Is he still alive?” Inara asked.
“Oh yes, they’re having quite the time with him. Against what Captain Reynolds may believe, the Alliance are not cold blooded killers.”
Dipping her head so that part of her hair veiled her face, Inara whispered softly. “That’s debatable.” She had seen Miranda firsthand. Sometimes she dreamt of it in images so vivid that the entire horrific experience could have happened just yesterday. Since boarding Serenity so long ago and seeing the world from the other side of what was thought to be civilized society, Inara could debate the Alliance’s civility with anyone.
“He is treated as any prisoner is… mostly.” With the last word, Atherton’s lips curled into a wicked grin. “Alright that’s a lie. But you know the value that he is to the Alliance when incapacitated. You know that he sparks revolution in people where revolution is unnecessary.”
It was true, especially since the unveiling of what the Alliance had done at Miranda. Mal’s name had been whispered in streets and pubs across the verse. Over the years the facts of the story had been exaggerated with the consistent retelling until it was becoming far bigger than any of them, and far bigger than the Alliance could handle.
“The necessity of revolution is not for us to decide. It is for the majority of the people of any world to decide.”
Atherton laughed at that, his fingers sliding down to push the gown off of one of her shoulders. Immediately, her chest was bared and Inara reached up to try to cover herself. “My, my he’s brainwashed you, hasn’t he?” He pushed her back to the couch, his hands around her wrists to hold them up above her head. One knee settled down between her thighs. “You used to be one of us, bao bei. I think that someday you can be such again.”
Inara laid back, fighting herself internally. She wanted to lash out and fight back. But in strength she was no match for Atherton. If she fought back and lost, he would rid her of the child without letting her give birth to it. “Atherton… I’m not feeling well.”
Her attempt at stalling fell on deaf ears as he opened the fly to his own pants. “We will see that you get adequate rest when I’m done then, Inara. You have my word.” And with the man Atherton had become over the years, in his mind that was mercy enough for a woman defiled such as he thought that Inara was.
Arriving on Bellephron had been simple enough. They had landed Serenity fairly quickly and easily at the docks, making a show of restocking and fueling her so as not to grab attention. Finding the Wing estate and scoping it out for infiltration was something entirely different from the simplicity of their arrival and the easy going show of normalcy they put on. Zoe had left the ship with Doctor Tam and Kaylee. With her, she had brought Jayne, who wanted to walk in the front door, open fire, get what they came for and then turn around and leave. She had also brought River who was a wild card. Depending on what kind of day the girl was having, she had the potential to be either extremely helpful or a deadly hindrance.
So far, from what she could tell, the place was well guarded. The Wing family seemed to be very wealthy and very prone to the flaunting of that wealth. But no one had the kind of security that the Wing’s had that surrounded their home unless they had made several enemies that they wanted to keep out. It didn’t surprise her. From what she had heard of Atherton Wing, he was a pompous bastard. And normally in such cases, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
“What if she ain’t even in there? We can’t tell what ‘Nara’s hairbrained schemes are gonna be.”
Zoe dipped down to settle in the small alleyway behind the estate. “We wait for nightfall. Then we’ll go in.”
“Nightfall. In one hour, thirteen minutes and forty-four seconds, forty-three, forty two, forty one…”
Jayne grumbled and settled down beside Zoe. “Still don’t like it. Mal’s probably dead by now and there’s no gorram re-“
“Jayne? I hear another word ‘bout the Captain bein’ any less than alive and well, I’ll make sure you feel everything you’re sayin’.” Zoe warned dryly.
Jayne fell quiet and crossed his arms over his chest. River’s whispers were barely audible above the light breeze that blew through the alleyway. “Four, three, two, one. One hour, twelve minutes, fifty-seven seconds. Fifty-six, fifty-five, fifty-four…”
When Mal woke up, he didn’t move. Mostly his stillness was because every inch of him hurt in some way. Some of him ached. Some of him stung. Muscles throbbed in protest and skin that had begun to scab over pulled and twisted against each inhale and exhale of breath. He could hear his own heartbeat in his ears and his head pounded, still somewhat swimming from the strength of the drugs he had been given the night before.
The night before…
Before he let his mind go there, he listened closely to the room. There was no noise save for the soft hum of too cool air that was continually pumped into the room. There was no shifting around of other officers and no flip of a page to foretell of Admiral Wetherford’s presence. Mal realized that he was on the cold hard floor. He was no longer hanging from the ceiling. Heavy metal cuffs were still around his wrists and ankles. He felt weak. He couldn’t remember a time that he had felt so weak, physically and mentally. If he didn’t pull himself together, he knew he wouldn’t last much longer here. At the moment, part of him wasn’t sure that he should last any longer.
”I pledge my allegiance to Alliance rule.”
“I’ll take excellent care of you for your compliance and submission.”
Submission. He had indeed submitted. The memory of it was foggy at first, but slowly grew more sharp and real as he thought about it. He remembered drowning in blood. He remembered voices that seemed inhuman. He remembered them hissing in his ear, sweet nothings and promises of rest and reprieve from his hell. He remembered saying the appropriate words and that immediate escape coming as promised.
Now he hated himself. He was ashamed of himself, never mind that he hadn’t been in any kind of control when he had given in. The Admiral had outsmarted and outplayed him. Mal had to give him that. This was exactly what the Admiral had wanted, to knock the wind out of his prisoners’ sails. And for now that was what had happened. Mal didn’t want to move in part because he hurt physically. But he was mentally wounded as well. If he moved they would know he was awake. They would come in again and want him to say the words again. He knew the lengths they would go through to make him say them now. And he wasn’t sure he could go there again, not right now. He needed a few minutes of feigned control over the situation and over himself.
So he stayed quiet and still and hurt and torn and in some ways broken on the floor of his cell. Given time, he could put himself back together and regain his footing to fight again. He just needed a few minutes… at least that was what he was telling himself as he drifted back out of consciousness. Just a few minutes.