His Women
Sunday, April 15, 2007

Part 6 of the Namesake series. Two parts angst, one part fluff. Mal narration. Inara recovers. Fear, love, and hope. Rated PG-13 for reference to horrific pre-story events... Download the first 6 installments in one convenient PDF here.


A.N. Comments welcome and appreciated. Read Namesake, Inheritance, Terse, His Angel, and First Job first or risk confusion. -------


Mal stood in the Infirmary, watching Inara as she slept. Two-year-old Michael yawned on his shoulder, while Zoë and Cole stood on tiptoes trying to see her face. It had taken six months to find her. Six months and he’d found her broken. Though her stomach was relatively flat, he was convinced he could see the glow of new motherhood on her. Those hun dan had raped her over and over, even after she became pregnant. Pregnant and broken. Her lucid periods were getting longer now; hopefully long enough to satisfy the children. He’d kept them away from her until today, knowing it would hurt them more to see her broken than to not see her at all. It hurt him so much to see. Was this how she felt every time he nearly died on a job? “Mama,” Michael whispered, more in Mal’s ear than to Inara. Mal teared-up at the sound of his son’s voice. Inara had missed his first words, his first steps; but she stirred when he said her name. Her eyes fluttered open and the children collectively inhaled as if watching an angel awake. At least that was the joy Mal felt when her eyes met his. Present one moment, vacant the next, but she recognized him now more than before. “Mommy!” Cole cried and Zoë lifted him onto the bed so he could give his mother a hug. Inara closed her eyes and leaned her head against his, but no smile came to her face. Little Zoë took Inara’s hand as delicately as if it would break off from too much pressure. For a brief moment, as Cole caught Inara up on the latest ship news and Zoë chimed in with addendums, Mal saw peace on her face, and he felt hope. But only a brief moment. Inara’s eyes shot open again, brown orbs glistening with fear and intensity, caught in the past. “No more,” Inara whispered sharply. Confused, Cole stopped speaking, his mouth hanging open with unsaid tales. “Zo,” Mal warned cautiously, handing over Michael and lifting Cole off the bed. “Take your brothers to the galley and send Uncle Simon down here.” “Mal,” Inara gasped again. “I hear ya, ‘Nara.” He moved more quickly now. “But daddy,” Cole protested as Mal directed him out by the shoulder. Without a word, Zoë shifted Michael to one arm, then took Cole’s hand and led them out. When they were up the stairs and out of sight, Mal turned back to Inara. “Get it out of me,” she pleaded. Mal bent down so that his face was near hers, trying to keep her calm. “You’re already pretty far along, ‘Nara. It’s safer to wait.” She didn’t seem appeased by that. “Serenity babies have a habit of bein’ preemies. It’ll be out of you soon.” “I don’t want it!” she wailed. “I don’t want it in me! Get it out now!” “Shh, shh,” Mal soothed, stroking her hair, feeling hot tears building in his own eyes. Her distress was contagious, her breathing labored, racked by sobs. Without warning, she jerked his arm spinning him around, and taking his gun in one fluid movement. “Get out!” she cried, pointing the weapon at her own belly. “Inara!” Desperately, he grabbed the gun, angling it upwards and taking it from her. Her arms felt like jelly in his hand, all sobs, no life. Tucking the gun safely in his boot, he leaned next to her again, taking both her hands in his and hugging her close. “Soon as the Doc gets here,” Mal promised, sitting her up so he could hold her. “Soon as he gets here, we’ll get it out of you.”



Mal was so exhausted from the events of the past week, that he hardly noticed Inara leaving the bed. Since her return, she tended to roam the ship at night, wandering the halls like a ghost, checking in on the children, sitting on the catwalk and reliving conversations they’d had years ago. Mal had followed her for the first several nights, his heart breaking as she stared at the empty cargo hold, drinking wine that wasn’t there, whispering “Why would I want to leave Serenity?” The walks, he had determined, were harmless and as the nights progressed, she’d returned to bed sooner and sooner. Mal rolled to the middle of the bed, inhaling her scent on the pillows, ready to welcome her back to sleep when she arrived. “Baba!” Zoë’s piercing shriek shot through the ship like an air-raid siren, sending chills through his spine. Heart pounding, Mal burst into the hallway and charged down the stairs to the children’s quarters. His breath quickened, worried that Inara may have lost her head and tried to hurt Zoë. “Zoë!” Mal hollered, seeing her room open and empty. He strode determinedly down the hall, his eyes alert. “Mama, stop it,” Zoë whimpered, drawing Mal’s eyes to the Infirmary. Inara’s eyes were glazed, her right hand holding a scalpel. Zoë stood pressed against Inara’s stomach facing out, both her hands clenched around Inara’s wrist, holding the sharp blade away from their bodies. Both Inara and Little Zoë were smeared with blood, though whose was a mystery. “Please, Mama, let go.” Mal entered quickly, but cautiously, taking hold of Inara’s wrist and finding the pressure point that made her drop the scalpel. Her eyes suddenly locked on his, calling him betrayer as he held her wrist in the air, but not fighting. Zoë snaked out of the face off, hiding behind Mal, letting him see that the blood was Inara’s. The cut went across her abdomen, right through her night gown. “Get it out,” Inara begged, her eyes wild and desperate. Mal pulled her into an embrace, feeling her hot blood pulsing onto his body. “Mal, get it out!” “It is out, Inara. We already did that. It’s out of you. It’s out.” She sobbed and bled on him and he fought with himself on whether to hold her a little longer or start patching her up. Little Zoë put her arms around the two of them, squeezing them closer together, her arms trembling. “Is Mama ‘Nara ever gonna be okay?” she asked. Mal held his angel – his broken angel – and prayed she would.



Mal was drawn to the sweet sound of all his girls gathered in one place, talking excitedly. Little Zoë had been upset earlier and she and Inara had spent the afternoon talking. It pleased Mal to no end to see his wife behaving as a mother again, helping Zoë through the drama of the week, as she was now prone to having. He was even more pleased by the joy bubbling up through the cargo bay like fizz from a champagne bottle. They’d pulled the red couch into the middle of the room, surrounding the area with small tables and mirrors, making it look like a salon. Inara patiently combed and braided Little Zoë’s hair, while Kaylee cheerfully laid out a selection of nail polish. Sky sat on the floor facing them, reclining on one hand, holding a capture in the other, telling everyone to smile and say something profound for posterity. He noticed that Little Zoë was wearing her momma’s old, brown, leather vest. The straps on the side were tightened as far as they would go and still it hung loosely on her body; but she would grow into it. She fingered the vest excitedly, listening to stories of her mother as Inara braided and Kaylee began painting her toes. Mal smiled and watched, leaning easily against a bulkhead, letting their joy rain over him like a warm shower. River stepped out of the galley carrying a tray of cheese and crackers and a bottle of wine. She caught Mal’s eye and shook her head. “A floral bonnet won’t buy you an invite,” she chided, her lips parting in a smile. “Come on, Aunt River! You’re missing the fun!” Zoë called up, blowing a kiss to Mal when she saw him. “Is this a girls night?” Mal asked River, a twinkle in his eye. “Is that why I wasn’t invited?” River’s smile turned mysterious as she walked gracefully down the stairs. “Not girls. Women.” Mal watched the scene again, as River’s words took a leisurely stroll to the comprehension centers of his brain. His jaw dropped as he understood River’s meaning and he looked again at the collection of ladies in the cargo bay. His Little Zoë, now a woman? Dear God, he was not ready for what came next!

*~* * * A fluffy reprieve awaits in Eavesdroppers


Sunday, April 15, 2007 10:50 AM


So Little Zoë isn't a little girl anymore? Ai ya, that only means boy troubles are next!

Maybe the next section of chapters should be lighter, then another return to darker days.

Sunday, April 15, 2007 12:14 PM


Yes, you are a cruel mistress, and this chapter had me in tears in a couple of places. So happy that Inara appears to be healing and I felt a little lump in my throat when Zoe had on her mamma's leather vest. Very well written, now we need some happy. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, April 15, 2007 1:42 PM


This is a wonderful series, keep up the great work!

Monday, April 16, 2007 9:35 AM


Oh, I say pile on the angst as long as we get little douses of fluff along the way. This part was incredibly heart-breaking - I can only imagine the horror Inara had to live through being at their mercy for six months. So painful and frightening. I'm really glad that she seems to be healing as well!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 6:47 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER really are a disciple of Joss' "Go big, go dark, but for God's sake...tell a joke!" theory of writing, don't ya? Cuz this tale really lives up to that philosophy of pushing all kinds of angsty buttons before tossing out a joke....

I definitely struggled with the scenes featuring Inara's psychosis. Gotta wonder though how involved River was in assisting Inara, since she's got the most experience with dealing with trauma-induced psychosis amongst the crew.



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Gravity Broke
Uncle Jayne loves waking up Serenity's passel of kids, but today he finds one of them broken. Sweet, fluffy. Sweet, fluffy, post-BDM, part of Namesake series.

Transition, Epilogue
Cole and Genny find resolution.

Transition, Part 11
A few more heart-to-heart chats. Jamie talks to Simon, Mal talks to Cole. Be prepared with tissues, but the end will make you smile.

Transition, Part 10
Jamie and Genny help each other through their respective emotional turmoils.

Transition, Part 9
Little Zoe talks to Michael about Berke, and Michael does not respond as well as she'd hoped. Inara talks to Simon and receives another birthday gift.

Transition, Part 8
Mal is getting worried about Genny, and he talks to Cole. Jayne is glad to see Jamie, but is a little surprised. We find out what Jamie's been up to.

Transition, Part 7
Mal get's Daquan's side of the story. Simon asks River what she wants to do.

Transition, Part 6
Mal and Inara get one more surprise at the space dock, then return home to deal with their uninvited guest.

Transition, Part 5
Mal and Inara share a romantic moment. River's dream about restoring her family turns into a nightmare.

Transition, Part 4
More of Inara's birthday - Cole dances with Genny, River encourages Michael, and Mal gives Inara a priceless gift. 25 years post-BDM. Reunion fic. Part of the Namesake series. Canon pairings. Minor angst warning - have tissues at ready.