Elizabeth and Inara had actually gotten on very well. Surprisingly well in some ways, and it wasn't at all surprising in other aspects.
And yes, they did discuss John. At some length.
Afterwards Elizabeth walks Inara to the gym. She hid her smile at John apparently handling himself about as well at sparring practice as Mal had when she had tried to teach him fencing. There was something... adorable about it. Along with all the many other adorable things she had discovered about him.
John would argue that he's better than Mal at this and Inara just happened to walk in as Teyla tripped him onto his back. Again.
He doesn't notice Inara just yet, as he and Teyla square off. Then, both concentrating on the fight, start the sequence again; parry, parry, thrust, pivot, strike, block...
He had been taking Teyla's advice to heart and not giving the fight his all like he normally would have, but still, as the speed of the blows increase, his grace and precision begin to take a hit.
But still, he goes about ten minutes before she floors him again.
And that's when he sees her, as he's on his back, groaning in mild pain. "Hi," he wheezes, trying to smile through a wince.
Edited at 2007-12-07 02:26 am (UTC)
"Hello." She smiles down at him, tempering the amusement with open affection. "Are you all right?"
Which is a silly question to ask, sort of, after the beating he just endured. But it seems to be the appropriate thing to ask.
Would you like me to kiss it and make it better is not an appropriate thing to ask.
"Sure! As soon as the shooting pain in my back goes away..." he's obviously exaggerating. Although he wouldn't say no to the kissing it better thing if she ever asked.
With a groan, he sits up and clambers to his feet, twirling one of the sticks expertly, ready to go another round.
Inara laughs softly, watching him with some affection before actually taking a look around the room. It's a decently stocked workout area. There are other sticks, whatever they're called in this place, and...
... ooh. Wooden practice swords.
She goes, picks one up and turns it a little in her hands experimentally. It's been a little bit since she's had one of this style of sword in her hand...
Sheppard watches her, and Teyla decides to use his momentary distraction to rap his knuckles sharply.
"Ow!" he cries out, yanking his hand back with a pout. "No fair!"
"You are on the mats; everything is fair. You are to be focused on your true opponent," Teyla admonishes. "Not on the beauty that is sent in to provide distraction."
He mock-glares at her. "Okay, okay fine. Focusing on my true opponent."
Inara resists the giggle. It wouldn't be very nice, even if it is cute. And flattering.
But. Since John is sparring, she feels somewhat better about going up to his very large friend.
"If I invite you to spar, will you go easy on me?" she asks. And that might be a bit of a mischievous sparkle in her eye, although she's mostly serious about going easy on her. He looks like a fighter and she, while she knows her way around swords, bows, and a few other things, is not.
Ronon flashes Sheppard a questioning glance, and Sheppard smiles before turning back to Teyla.
Teyla grins. "How about we work through the sequence in pairs; John and myself against each other and Ronon and Inara against each other?"
"Sounds good," Sheppard says to Teyla. "I prefer fighting against you anyway. You don't throw me as far or as hard as Ronon does."
Inara chuckles at that, because she can see why. She slips her shoes off to give her a better grip on the floor, working her legs and shoulders a bit to loosen up. This would be... well, interesting. At least she wasn't in one of her more constrictive dresses.
She took up a stance against Ronon, with only a slight nod to signal him that she was ready. And then... well. It had been a while since she had defended herself in practice quite like this.
Teyla and Sheppard demonstrate the sequence, but slowly so Inara can get the gist of it. Then, when they reset back to the opening stance and begin again, Ronon smiles and joins in, trusting Inara to fall into step with them.
Teyla keeps it slow for the first several run-throughs, again, so Inara can get up to speed.
Sheppard doesn't mind. It's extra practice at programming muscle-memory with moves he's been having issues with executing at high velocity.
Once the sequence begins she focuses on it with habitual concentration, managing even to close out the distraction of John so close by. She watches Teyla more than either of the men, their bodies moving similarly, the same center of balance. They're built close enough for it.
Every sequence, she makes little adjustments to her stance and movements based on Teyla's instructions and her observations. She trusts her body to remember; that, too, was part of the training.
Once Teyla is sure that everyone's on the same page, she begins to step up the speed, starting off slowly and ending with a flurry of blows.
The first time she clips Sheppard on the hand and he yelps again, though softly. Another mock-glare for the Athosian from the Colonel and they begin again, until they start getting into actual combat speed.
Ronon, for his part, does go easy on Inara. Mostly because he doesn't want to piss Sheppard off, but also because he see that, although she's similar to Teyla, she seems a lot more delicate. He knows it's bad to jump to a conclusion like that, but her grace is f a different type that Teyla's and it's evident that Teyla's a true warrior, where Inara - one who can defend herself with deadly ferocity - is not.
Even going easy, it's work to keep up with him. But at least it's easier to keep herself focused on him, on the way he moves, on repeating the right sequence of movements. Now, she reminds herself, is not the time to get cocky or creative.
Even if she wants to. Which shows in a tiny smile as she focuses, hard, back and forth, the right sequence of movements. This is about learning, sparring, not ...
... showing off for John. Perhaps she's not as immune as she thought.
At least, she thinks, barely missing getting thumped herself, she isn't looking around to see if he's watching.
And this would not be John showing off for Inara, either, (he so is!) and both Ronon and Teyla are smirking at the end of the sequence.
They step back from Sheppard and Inara, Ronon barely out of breath and Teyla starting to breath a little hard.
"Break for now," Teyla says, trying to catch her breath.
Inara wasn't actually that out of breath, but she was certainly sweating. While the physical routines she had learned had taught her how to breathe through exertion, there wasn't much it could do about the body's natural inclination to perspire.
Of course, Companions were only supposed to do a few things that would make them sweat, anyway.
She salutes Ronon with her sword, still with that playful grin, and stretches herself out a bit. No point in stiffening up.