We win.

The image below was posted to reddit the evening of 8 December, and so my brain wrote a little story about it. Since my brain and I are on tenuous terms at best, I thought I’d humor it and write the story down. So, here it is. “A story” by My Brain.

“Mal- 10 years later" by Rebecca Hudgens

After arguing back and forth with Inara about whether it would fit, Mal—fresh off the operating table—stood up. He was still a bit wobbly, but pushed through it. Once fully upright and steady, he cast his gaze about the infirmary.


Inara wearily cut him off, “It’s under the blanket,” indicating the quilt Kaylee had left in the room after standing watch over her captain.

Frustrated that he was on the wrong side of the bed, now, Mal toddled around the room, refusing to put his hand on the mattress for support—despite obviously wanting to.

Underneath the bright, patchwork quilt lay the bedraggled leather duster. (No, he won’t buy a new one, thank you very much.) Mal articulated his new chrome fingers, looking almost guilty that they seemed to work perfectly.

Inara sat silently in the doctor’s chair, her penetrating gaze the loudest sound in the room.

“Right,” he said, realizing he was the lone performer on the impromptu stage of his own making. He grabbed his brown coat by the collar, and eased his left arm in, comfortable as a second skin. Mal rolled his shoulders and briefly hesitated, realizing that his new musculature was girthier than his previous.

No matter. In for a penny, Mal thrust his cybernetic arm into the empty sleeve. Up until the elbow, it was a resounding success. Unfortunately, his secondhand Blue Sun bicep had other ideas, deciding that sleevelessness was a more-appropriate early-26th-century fashion.

‘That was the nicer sleeve too,’ Mal thought as the remnants slid down his insensate metal forearm; as a reflex, he caught the leather just before it hit the floor. Inara was mercifully silent while Mal pondered his options.

“So… either I did that intentionally to look manly and impulsive, or I’m still too doped up to think straight. Those are your choices, okay?”

“Uh-huh,” she intoned doubtfully.

“Is there any way it could be your fault?”

“No, Mal.”

Sighing, he tossed his erstwhile sleeve onto the counter. “Could you at least help me get back into bed before the I-told-you-so?”

Inara chuckled softly, and rose from her chair. Reaching out for his flesh-and-blood arm, she smiled wryly, “No promises, 我的小半机械.”