Leaving Serenity

Prompt: #004 Emotion and #030 Angst

Notes: Written for joss100 and 30angsts

Mal stared at Inara as if she'd done something a lot worse than offer to make him a cup of tea. He just couldn't tolerate her games and he was sure she was playing at something. Shaking his head roughly, he spat back at her, "You're tryin' your feminine wiles on me again, aren't ya?"

Inara rolled her eyes wearily and sighed. "Mal. It's tea. If you don't want any all you have to do is say so," she reasoned, reaching over the table to retrieve her own cup. She took a sip of the warmed liquid. Unfortunately it did nothing to quench the passionate irritation that was on its way to consuming her and she felt her control slowly ebb away as every moment passed.

"So what was it that you wanted anyway?" Mal demanded. He had moved closer to the shuttle door and looked ready to flee at any second if any uncomfortableness ensued.

"I wanted to let you know that I'm leaving Serenity. I thought things could be different after…" She faded out but Mal knew straight away that she was referring to Miranda, "…but it's not. And I don't think I can handle staying here any longer," Inara finished.

She wanted desperately to turn away and look anywhere but at the Captain who had become so much more to her than she could or would ever admit to even herself, but she forced her eyes up to his and stared at him defiantly as her words sunk in.

Mal's face softened and he chewed at his bottom lip as realisation hit. A sharp stabbing pain shot through his heart and clouded his mind, an intense source of emotion that he never knew he had. Nothing had ever hurt him as badly as the pain he was now experiencing.

"There's nothing I can say or do to convince you otherwise?" Mal finally asked, breaking eye contact. He couldn't look at her. Not now, while his heart was breaking into a million shattered fragments that would never be put back the same again.

Inara shook her head sadly and dropped her gaze, too. Then she repeated the words, making it all final. "I'm leaving."