Dec. 16th, 2011 09:58 am
[personal profile] browncoat2x2
Title: Sacrifices
Author: [ profile] browncoat_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 Challeng #001 - Childhood, 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.”

Date: 2011-12-16 03:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really like the state of M/I's relationship here. There's trust and comfort that, even though I likes the angst, I know is in the future for them.

Also, this feels very real. I like that just because they are in love, Inara doesn't lose herself. Doesn't turn into a baby hungry woman when she was never that way. And I'm saying this as fan who wants them to have lots of fat babies!!

Date: 2011-12-16 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

also; w'heeeeeeee! :))

Date: 2011-12-18 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw, thank you darlin'!

Date: 2011-12-17 02:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
To be honest I think I may have made them a little *too* comfortable for the time frame... but a lot could have changed between them in the space of 9 months after the movie, especially if they were both making a concerted effort. For this one, I'll just have to say that it did :)

And I'm glad you think it feels real, thanks! Some women just don't want children (raises hand ;) and being in love doesn't change that. I could see Inara being one of them.

Date: 2011-12-16 04:27 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-17 02:31 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-16 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is lovely, and being a woman who doesn't want children with a man who kinda sorta maybe stings a bit, but in that good way. Thanks.

Date: 2011-12-17 02:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That can raise complications *nods* Before my husband and I got married it was something we discussed, and fortunately we were both of the same mind on it, and didn't want to have children. But it was something we felt we had to sort out and agree on before we got married. Would I have agreed to have children if he'd adamantly wanted them? I don't know. Fortunately I didn't have to face that question. People can certainly feel very strongly one way or the other on the subject.
Anyway, I'm glad that you enjoyed it, even in it's stingy-ness. Thank you!

Date: 2011-12-19 10:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Good for you!

I've been married for just over twelve years, and we talked about it, too (though admittedly probably not as much as we should have) but we did what people do sometimes. We changed. We both went from "maybe someday" to "not so much" verus "probably ready now." It's still an ongoing concern. We shall see.

Date: 2011-12-19 01:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You never can predict where life will take you or what those changes may result in. It's a tough one!

We've been married 14 years, and there has been a bit of a 'maybe it wouldn't have been so bad - if... if our financial situations were different, if our health situations were different...' but mostly it's still a pretty positive 'No' for both of us. Visiting with my nieces is enough. And experiencing other people's children when we're out and about usually reaffirms our lifestyle decision ;)

Date: 2011-12-20 05:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, hells yes. On all of that. And it's not me who wavers - never much at all - but hubby. He had a case of the baby rabies about a year ago, but thankfully, it's passed. If it comes back, well...we shall see.

Date: 2011-12-20 11:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Baby rabies, lol!

Date: 2011-12-17 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You DO seem to have drabbled something - something lovely! I like how smart it is, how it acknowledges that feelings around motherhood are complicated and how one pregnancy can resonate through a group of friends and affect everyone differently.

An interesting little "tell," too, that as rational and comfortable Inara pretends to be with her decision, she's still ready to punish herself by withdrawing from her love relationship. Awww, honey...

I particularly like the moment when Inara watches Mal making the mental connections. That's very faithful to his character, as is the sadd-ish conclusion he came to, that her decision was at least partially dependent on the life of crime and wandering he'd signed them up for. And later, "pointed" Mal. Yay! Very Jossian.

Well, done, you!

Date: 2011-12-17 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it!

I've always found that there's a certain amount of social expectation where babies are concerned. Everyone's supposed to be happy about a new baby, everyone's supposed to go and visit the new baby, everyone's supposed to want to hold the new baby, everyone's supposed to baby!squee!

But not everyone feels that way or enjoys the new baby excitement. I'm reminded of that Seinfeld episode, if you ever saw it - "You've got to see the ba-by!" ;)

Companions would, by nature of their work, be mostly exempt from that social expectation I would think - at least in my mind, the natural assumption is a Companion doesn't plan to have children, and therefore is not automatically expected to participate in the social aspect of baby!squee

But children and the right to have them, the ability to have them, is very very important to many people, and because of the social expectation there, I think that those who don't want to have children are often put in a position that expects them to defend that decision; i.e. social expectation = normal, not wanting children = abnormal. So I think that some of Inara's willingness or feeling that Mal shouldn't have to sacrifice his desire for children by being with someone who doesn't want children, stems from that. It's an attitude programmed by the accepted social norm.

Or something like that anyway ;)

Very pleased that you like the mental-connection-making Mal scene! I like it when you can see the gears turning :)

And thank you for the Jossian comment! Whee! :D

Date: 2011-12-20 05:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's not "punishment."

If my husband decides he absolutely, positively, 100% wants children, I'll have to divorce him. That will suck, and it will hurt me, but it's not punishing myself. It's allowing him to live the life he wants, because I don't want that and it's not fair to ask him to give that up if it matters so much to him. It's about him, not me. If anything, he'll be the one doing the punishing, as he will choose to love someone he's never met more than me. He will break us for someone who doesn't even exist. Punishing myself by withdrawing from my love relationship? No. Just no. And Inara isn't doing that here, either. She IS rational and comfortable about her decision in this telling. There is no delusion or pretending there. However, she is also rational enough to understand that if Mal really wants kids, their relationship simply will not work, and thus must end, pain or not.

Just my thoughts.

PS: that said, I really like this fic, as I said above, and my life is this life right now, day at a time, my dears. One day at a time.
Edited Date: 2011-12-20 05:47 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-19 09:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooooh good conversation. Tough one for anyone to have and I liked that you didn't simplify it at all. Beautiful writing.

Date: 2011-12-19 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! Glad you liked it :)



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