For JoAnn--Firefly

Mal calls her a whore because he thinks it hurts her, and he wants to hurt her on some level of his less-than-complex psyche, Inara knows this. She represents all that he hates. She is the epitome of Alliance indulgence, of Alliance arrogance. All that training in how to be a Companion -- not just in sex, but in conversation, in social skills, in dancing and music and language and philosophy. All that training to learn how to put a client at ease, how to be exactly what a client needs, how to lose herself -- her identity -- beneath the image the client paid for.

It's everything Mal hates, and she knows it, and sometimes she really does regret ever setting eyes on Serenity and her captain. Sometimes she thinks about leaving and going back to a core planet and living a life more suited for her talents.

But then she remembers the look on Mal's face when he realized that the only reason he and Zoe were released from the Sheriff's office was because of her credentials.

And that makes everything worthwhile.