Friday, December 16, 2011

Inara reflects on her feelings about having Children and telling Mal.


Title: Sacrifices
Author: 2x2
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Set post BDM.
Characters: Mal/Inara
Author's Note: Woah! I seem to have drabbled, or something. Written for the Firefly Friday Challenge #001 - Childhood over on LJ, though I cheated a bit and it's really more Children. Something actually came to me though, so, I ain't complaining. Just seein' if I can still actually write something here :)

The truth was she had no real love of children.

She’d never been one to coo over babies; had no interest in holding them, and certainly no desire to have one of her own. She’d been adamant that she would never have children as far back as she could remember.

One of the advantages of having committed to the Guild so young was that there had been no expectation for her to get married or provide grandchildren. Some of her sisters had mourned that ‘loss’, she knew, but it hadn’t felt that way to her. As far as she was concerned, babies were an unwanted side effect of poorly planned intercourse and something she had no intention of ever experiencing.

And things had gone perfectly according to plan in that regard.

Until now.

Now, with Zoe’s little bundle of joy soon to join the crew, everything these days seemed to be about babies. What would they name the baby? What was the sex of the baby? Who would babysit the baby? Couldn’t she just not wait until she got to hold the baby? And as Zoe’s pregnancy progressed and the topic of babies remained the main focus of the crew, the smiles and comments had inevitably started.

“When are you an’ the Captain gonna make one of your own?”

The first time Kaylee had asked her she’d been unprepared for the question, even though she’d known it would come eventually. Discomfited, she’d stammered something, and been relieved when Mal had assured them all that that was a long time off yet. But she hadn’t failed to notice the sparkle in his eye when he’d said it.

It gnawed at her, and she worried over it for days, before finally blurting out the truth to him one night.

“I don’t want children.”

He blinked at her, caught completely off guard by (to him) her sudden, out-of-the-blue announcement. But Mal wasn’t stupid, and she could see him making the mental connections, his eyes cutting away briefly before coming back to her. “Ain’t like this life is any sort for a young’un,” he said.

“It’s not stopping Zoe,” she said. Then, a statement: “You want one.”

Mal was at a loss for words. “I… Maybe? Someday? I figured we’d talk about it when or if the time came. I don’t know.” He sighed. “Look, I know everyone’s been askin’ on how long before we’re havin’ one. But it ain’t something we’ve got to decide on now--”

“It’s not something to decide on at all, Mal. I’m not going to change my mind!”

“All right,” he said, holding up his hands in a calming gesture. He shook his head. “Why you tryin’ to make a fight a’ this?”

“I’m not. I’m just letting you know, now, how I feel. And if… if children are something you want, then, maybe we’d be better off—”

“Woah! Okay, hold on, right there,” he said, moving to her. He smoothed his hands over her upper arms, bending to look her in the eyes. “There’s a million ‘n one things could happen between now and whenever we might think on havin’ a baby.” He held up a hand, forestalling her comment. “All I’m sayin’ is, this ain’t nothin’ we got to think on now. If the day comes we do got to think on it, well… I ain’t givin’ up ‘today’ for a ‘maybe tomorrow’,” he said, giving her a gentle squeeze. “Comes down to it, I’m a selfish fella, Inara. ‘fraid I’m gonna pick you every time.”

Inara shook her head. “You shouldn’t have to sacrifice having children to be with me—”

“An’ you ain’t sacrificed nothin’ to be with me?” he said, pointedly.

Of course she had. They both had made sacrifices... And they both would continue to do so.

“I’m right where I want to be,” Mal said softly, pulling her closer.

Inara sighed and leaned into him gratefully. “So am I.”


Friday, December 16, 2011 12:07 PM


Omigosh! I was hoping I'd see you around again when I talked to you a day ago!


Friday, December 16, 2011 12:11 PM


I can relate to Inara here.

Normally when I think of her, I think it might be the other way around and she's unconsciously nesting in that shuttle of hers. In Our Mrs. Reynolds she snaps at Mal when he mentions children. Is that because she wants to have HIS children but doesn't think that will happen, or because he wants children and she doesn't? I could see it both ways.

Friday, December 16, 2011 4:59 PM


I've written her having children/wanting children before... I can see it from that way too. But this morning, she didn't want 'em :)

I've been writing a bit with Charlie lately, which has helped rekindle the writing urge... well, I've had the urge for a long while now, but the muse hasn't been as cooperative. This morning all the elements seemed to be there :)

Also, I need to go pull out my Atlas for you! I keep forgetting!

Friday, December 16, 2011 5:11 PM


Well-written, convincing take on Inara and her views on children. Given your starting statement, everything in here follows beautifully. I like your point that Mal and Inara have both made sacrifices for each other--and compromises. So true. Glad to see you writing something new here. I've enjoyed so many of your other fics. As always, your voices are so true to character.

Friday, December 16, 2011 5:49 PM


Oh wow. I was just saying how much I miss some of you guys and your Mal/Inara fics. We can come up with new and exciting discussions, I never can resist one of those.

Saturday, December 17, 2011 5:18 AM


@ebfiddler Thanks! It's been a long long while since I've been around here, it's nice to be back :)

Sacrifice, compromise... no matter how much you may love another person, and how similar you may be, no relationship can survive without a little of both, IMO. So I'm glad you like that point! :D

Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

@Byte I miss all the Mal/Inara fics that used to be written too :( I have never stopped wanting to write more, but the muse just hasn't been with me in forever. I'm really happy to have been able to write this. I can only hope that I'll be able to do some more

Saturday, December 17, 2011 3:48 PM


I can see this take with Inara choosing not to have children then worrying about Mal not feeling the same. I don't see them making sacrifics so much as compromises in order to find that center ground they can both be happy with. And it would typically be Kaylee asking Inara. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Saturday, December 17, 2011 4:30 PM


Fantastic work here, 2x2! You really capture a believable snapshot of Inara's internal monologue about not really wanting children but fretting over Mal taking her stance hard. Which would totally be something Mal could believably do, since he's lost so much and then the prospect of "losing" the opportunity to be a father with Inara? Totally throw him off kilter.

Personally, I am of the stance that if the intended direction of Inara's character arc was she was dying of something nasty and trying to make the most of her remaining days, then I think she would be of two minds. She's against having children for the same reasons she would be against letting herself fall fully for Mal or try to have a relationship...but I think a part of her would be on-board with being a mother and lamenting her illness would rob her of any perceived opportunities to apply her lessons being a parental figure for Kaylee (and I would imagine River, to a lesser extent) to a child of her own.

Still, how you have presented Mal here - caring and understanding but not completely dismissive of his own desires - feels right for a version of Mal whose let some of the emotional armour fall away and is working on finding the right middle ground for being with Inara!


Monday, December 19, 2011 2:04 AM


@BEB Hey! Thanks for the comment! Truthfully, I could go either way for Inara, and I've written the baby fic thing before, but I could also see her not wanting them. It's fun to explore both sides :)

I'm very very pleased you find my Mal feels right! Thank you!

@Amdobell I think Compromise often involves a little bit of sacrifice, IMO ;) And, yeah, it would be Kaylee, hehe :)

Friday, December 23, 2011 6:05 AM


I've never thought of Inara as NOT wanting children, especially after falling for Mal, but she knows she shouldn't or can't because of her health condition, that's the hurtful aspect which comes out in OMR, when Mal confesses he'd like to try, because Inara would obviously make a wonderful parent, very nurturing and caring like she shows the others.

In turn, Mal would definitely choose her over no children with her.

Enjoyed reading.


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History of an Object
There’s no reason to keep it, damaged as it is. Save one. Doesn’t matter that it’s finer than any other cup on the ship, even with the crack. Doesn’t matter that it would never hold liquid again without some of it seeping through. Burning your fingers. Was only one reason he still has the cup.

Five Years' War
The night was warm. Clouds, low on the horizon, blue black in the last light of the setting sun. Nothing but the breeze and the buzz of the cicadas breaking the stillness. A perfect evening.

The Close Shore, At the End, Untenable
“Dead ’re in my head tonight,” he said finally. “Can’t get ‘em out. Don’t got the booze or the bar to distract me. Don’t know why I’m here ‘cept I don’t think I can go through it alone.”

The Slower Path: All the Difference - Part 15 - Sequel to The One Less Traveled By
She let out a breath, saying nothing for a long moment before she raised her eyes again. “There are some things I want you to know,” she said softly. “Things I want you to understand.”

Much as he wished he could ignore it, he could see it was important to her that he know whatever it was she wanted to tell him. He knew he wouldn't have let himself see it in the past, but that weren't where they were anymore, or at least, not where they wanted to be, either of them. Their relationship had changed, was changing, and he weren’t so stupid he didn’t recognize that. He didn't know that he wanted to know it, much less understand it, but she was reluctant enough to talk about any aspect of her life as it was; could be he might ought not stop her when she wanted to.

Unlucky at Cards...
“I… You can’t be that lucky!” Mal moaned as Inara beat him again, laying out her cards with a flourish.

The Slower Path: The One Less Traveled By - Part 14 - Sequel to Regrets
They fell silent again, struggling to find the ease that they had found, before; before the argument that had almost ended things.

"I feel like-," she started.

"This is-," he said at the same time.

They looked at each other. "Awkward," they both said, laughing lightly.

Always Had Faith
Faith in a higher power? That was always Mal's thing, the Captain, back in the war.

Loved and Lost
Love’s the biggest kind of hurt there is.

And I wouldn't trade that love for nothin'.

The Mood That Passes Through
He felt the first trembling shudder go through her, heard her breath hitch and felt her fingers grip his skin; knew it was comin', the wave that was cresting the walls she'd built to hold it back, whatever it was. Knew they were about to come crashing down around her. The first sob still hurt though, still lanced through his heart like a searing hot blade to hear her make that sound.