These Are the Maybes
Friday, September 8, 2006

Inara thinks about her future.


Title: These are the Maybes Disclaimer: Firefly does not belong to me. Keywords: Inara, Inara/Mal, Inara/Other Word Count: 735 Rating: PG Written for ff_friday, Challenge: #130 “Old Age”


Mal ages faster than she does, but it suits him—gives him a refined, respectable look. Wrinkles grow around his mouth and eyes, but it makes him softer, chinking away at the roughened look he wore as the Captain of Serenity. She doesn’t tell him any of those things, of course, because Mal likes to pretend that he’s still the hardened war hero inside and out.

The first time she finds a gray hair, she almost has herself a good cry. Back on Sihnon, there would have been any number of products to return her youth. Here, on the Rim, such things are rare, and nearly impossible to afford.

Mal laughs, but she doesn’t think it’s funny, and she’s all ready to start one of their patented arguments (not the kind that leads to the ripping off of clothes, but the other kind—the slam-the-door-in-your-face kind), but he grabs her from behind, kisses the back of her neck, and swaggers away.

After all, it is why she’s kept him all these years—the first man to love her for going gray. It’s enough to make her smile.


She finally retires as a Companion in her mid-forties. A little soon, maybe, but nothing has been quite right since she left Serenity (that second time, after the Miranda incident). Soon after, she finds she’s the one aching for companionship, and it grows harder and harder to believe that she once had love—and ran from it.

She continues working for the Guild, becoming vital to the administration, and respected as a teacher and mentor. She takes on lovers, sometimes seeing more than one man at a time. They are respected men of society, men with political connections, with status to rival her own. She does not love any of them, but she also knows that love is not necessary to help fill the loneliness.

She is content.


She finds her way back to Mal. Their relationship seems to operate on a back-and-forth scale. It is not possible for them to have one last fight, one last good-bye, because there has only ever been one-last between them.

She used to think they’d both be in dentures when they finally figured it out. Mal would have a wooden cane, she’d have a back brace, and making love would leave them sprained and tired for a week.

When they finally make it for the one-last time, it has only been a few years, but it feels like one hundred.


She leaves Serenity and falls in love for a second time. He’s older than she is and he’s been married before, but he’s a decent man. He respects the part of her that was-is a Companion. He’s a retired architect, and he has no trouble showering her with books and music, anything to spark her interest.

They have children. A boy and a girl. Both of them are born with light blonde hair. She finds herself making lunches, yelling until her throat is hoarse (“It’s hours past your bedtime. What are you still doing up? No, that tree is not made for sneaking out!”). She sends them to the finest schools the Alliance has to offer. She’s wary of government propaganda, but they come home with their ABC’s memorized all the same.


She never grows old.

She doesn’t go out like Wash and Book. Nothing so heroic. There is no grandstand against the Alliance, no Reavers.

She’s caught in the crossfire of a job gone wrong, and it seems such a shame that she should go out in such an ordinary, banal, everyday way. She doesn’t even know who fired the gun. It may have been someone on their side.

She dies in a ditch. The sun is blinding and she can taste the pungent saltiness of the sweat dripping off her face. She is cold, and her body slowly numbs, dulling the pain.

They don’t find her until later—after, and some part of her wishes that she could have at least had the comfort of dying in Mal’s arms (even if a part of her realizes that it would not have done him any good).

Everybody dies alone.

She finds that Mal wasn’t so correct, after all. There are voices in her head and incessant snapshots of the would-could-maybe that might have been her life.

Dying alone should have left her with fewer regrets.


Friday, September 8, 2006 4:14 PM


I like this a lot. "The first man to love her for going gray". Makes you think getting older may not be so bad after all...

Friday, September 8, 2006 4:24 PM


Awesome! I love your Inara POV and how she looks at her life. I have a hard time picturing her having children with a man who is not Mal, but I could see it all the same.

This was beautifully written and of course, sad, but then again, most good fan fiction is - keep writing Goldy, I always look forward to your posts!

Saturday, September 9, 2006 5:26 AM


My favourite one will always be the first one where you have Inara and Mal settled together, growing old with one another, in the time honoured way of those who love not often but forever. The other variations will never match that one for me. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, September 9, 2006 6:03 AM


this is the kind of beautiful that makes you ache. i love the simplicity of the language here--kind of a 'this is how it is.' All these scenarios are believable in their own ways. I agree with Ali that the first one is lovely. I'm not sure why, but this line feels especially perfect:

"Mal ages faster than she does, but it suits him—gives him a refined, respectable look."

And I also love him kissing the back of her neck! Thanks for this~

Monday, September 11, 2006 7:34 PM


Brilliant work here, Goldy! Though you have to wonder...which theme would Joss and Co. have left us with had Firefly been given the chance to grow, evolve and bow out in its own time? I would have laid money on Option 5...cuz it's the Puppies Scenario;D



You must log in to post comments.



Goodnight and Goodbye (2/2)
The Second War of Unification has started. Where does the crew of Serenity go next? Darkish. M/I, various other pairings.

Goodnight and Goodbye (1/2)
The Second War of Unification has started. Where does the crew of Serenity go next? Darkish. M/I, various other pairings.

Shades of Something New
Little glimpse at Mal and Inara pre-series.

Colder Inside
Mal/Inara. As usual, things are complicated - but this time, there is ice cream.

The crew dresses up as pirates for Halloween. Yes. Really. M/I, S/K.

Finding Precision
"That was the night she told them she was leaving." Post-OiS. Simon/Inara.

Stolen Moments
Mal/Inara. And waking up. And the fluff. Oh, god, the fluff.

"Mal had lost everything once before." What happens when he loses everything again? Dark fic.

These Are the Maybes
Inara thinks about her future.

Missing Pieces
"Sometime during the last few months, Inara had become well acquainted with sacrifice." Mal/Inara. And trying to make it work.