By Jemima Pereira (
Fic series: Firefly Fei-hua
© February 2008
Rating: PG
Series: Firefly

A brief coda to "Heart of Gold."

No dough, no foul.

Thanks to Jade for the inspirational hat and the beta.

It goes without saying I shouldn't've lain with her friend. Women say they're all open-minded about the whoring, but they don't mean it. They insult you six ways from the Sabbath, but they don't mean that, either. It's just a way not to tell you the truth.

Anyhow, you can't hide whoring from a...companion. I'm not saying I should have tried. What I should've done is, I shouldn't've asked. I shouldn't've gotten all truthy in the cargo bay. I should've kept my trap shut tight. I should've gone and mourned Nandi alone in my bunk, and, merciful Buddha, Inara might've still been here when I come out.

Now I'll be herding the cats---the preacher, the crazy girl, the jealous pilot with his toys, the greedy thieving traitor, the whole sad lot of them---alone. A single parent with a loaded pistol, like Petaline. I can't face that just yet.

She's still the wise one. She knew she was leaning on me, and I reckon she couldn't bear it no more. Whoring is her brand of freedom, and I was her brand of threatening. Because I slept with her friend and it should have been fine because they're all open-minded about the whoring---except when they're not.

She's still the strong one---never wanting to break away, but she did anyhow. She knew she was leaning on me, but I never knew I was hitched up to her strength. She kept me going, and now I'm still standing in the cargo bay because I'm not strong enough to walk away. And yet I have to be, because I asked, and I told, and I forced her to do the same.

Trouble is, the only word a fancy lady ever means is "goodbye."