A/N: I've been meaning to post this for awhile now. It's been sitting all lonely-like in a notebook for almost a month already, along with several other fics! Anyways, I hope you like!

Resignation

Prompt: #005 "What do you want?" - "I want it all. I want everything." - "You're not going to get it."

Inara cautiously lowered herself down the ladder into Mal's darkened bunk. He had been avoiding her lately and she was sick of it! It was way past the time for them to work their way through the mountainous complications and problems that had heaped upon them. They were both beginning to drown in them, and Inara was feeling the pressure pulling at her, unrelentingly. A talk was long past due.

"Mal?" Inara called, reaching the bottom rung and stepping off the ladder onto the cold, hard floor. She readjusted her dress, brushing it gently back into place. "Can I have a word with you?" she moved towards his bed where he appeared to be sleeping.

"Mal?" Inara repeated. She pulled back the heaped covers on his bed to reveal…more blankets. "Gosse!" she swore under her breath. Her gaze lingered on Mal's empty bed for a moment before suddenly, footsteps alerted her to Mal's presence.

Not noticing her, Mal stepped off the bottom rung and made to go to his bed, pulling his shirt over his head and throwing it aside with a yawn.

Then he saw Inara.

"Inara!" he exclaimed, jumping six foot in the air. "What are you doing in my bunk?" He asked, turning his gaze from her to his discarded shirt as if pondering whether or not to put it back on. Finally deciding, he shrugged it off and turned back to stare at the Companion.

"I…uh…don't worry about it," Inara told him, deciding to let things slide for another night. It wasn't as if either of them was going anywhere, being on the same ship and all. They weren't due to arrive in Persephone again for another couple of days as well. It couldn't hurt to wait a bit longer.

Inara moved towards the ladder to go, coming to an abrupt halt when Mal suddenly manoeuvred himself in front of the exit, blocking her path. "You're not going anywhere til you tell me what you came here for," he said firmly. "What do you want?"

Inara studied him carefully for a few seconds before she realised that he meant what he'd said – he wouldn't budge until she told him the truth. Not particularly wanting to stay in Mal's bunk any longer than she had to – at least not now, while they were in the middle of this 'fight' or argument or whatever it was – she sighed.

"Mal. I want it all," she told him, resignedly. "I want everything –"

"Well, I don't like your chances there. Not a person in the world doesn't want everything and they ain't got it. You're not gonna get it," Mal interrupted. He moved away from the door, sending her a silent signal that he'd let her leave now if that's what she wanted.

"Mal! We're not going to get anywhere dancing around each other like we have been. Can't you just try?" she pleaded.

"Try? Try what?" Mal spat, laughingly. "I don't know what you're talking about!"

Inara sighed wearily and sat down on the edge of Mal's bed. She should've known he'd be like this! She should've convinced herself not to face him. But, no. She'd been too stubborn for her own good and had let herself fall. She'd allowed herself to follow up on a bout of emotions she had for the stubborn martinet of a captain and had rendered her judgement foolish in the process.

"Try us, Mal. You and me," she explained as if talking to a child. Her cheeks flushed red and she breathed heavily as Mal stared blankly at her.

"Us?" Mal's voice softened. His face broke out in understanding as it finally hit him. Inara could see it in his eyes.

"Yes," Inara replied softly, nodding at him. She absently trailed her fingers along the rough fabric of the blankets on the bed, a nervous half smile plastered on her face.

"As in –?" Mal's brow furrowed, suddenly puzzled again. "But –"

"But what?" Inara interjected. "I'm a Companion? Is that it?"

Mal's voice wavered apologetically as he answered. "Well…yeah."

"Not for much longer," Inara told him quietly. She broke her gaze from his and stared resolutely at the floor. "I sent a wave to the Guild before I came to see you. My resignation should be complete within the next week or two."

"You quit?" Mal exclaimed. He was clearly shocked by the idea. "But, why?"

Inara looked up to meet his eyes again. "I quit for you, Mal."