Prompt: #005 Walk Away

Notes: Written for 10 per genre

I learned something from Nandi. Not just from what happened, but from her. The family she made, the strength of her love for them. That's what kept them together. When you live with that kind of strength, you get tied to it, you can't break away. And you never want

There's something that I... that I should have done a long while ago. And I'm sorry for both of us that it took me this long.

I'm leaving.

Inara heard her words echo over and over in her mind and knew that her decision; her choice to leave Serenity was something that she never wanted to do. She also knew that she had no choice, not now after she had been so close to telling Mal how she really felt about him.

He had just come onto her so strong without saying a word and she hated it. He had sent her just one look in her direction and she'd felt her knees go weak; her insides turn; her heart speed up a few beats. She really hated it.

She hated how it made her feel. She hated that it made her want him. She hated that it made her want to need him. Most of all, she hated that it made her want to quit her job and tell him the truth. She couldn't get all truthsome with him though. She couldn't quit her job. She couldn't let herself need him. She just couldn't.

It wasn't who she was. She was a Companion and she was independent. Both of those words meant that she had to be alone. She couldn't be with Mal because if she were, she'd lose everything she had now and what she had now was what she had known for her entire life. Losing that would mean losing who she was.

Inara sighed, knowing that while her heart was pulling in one direction – towards Mal and everything she secretly desired and couldn't have – her head was the thing to follow. Her head was telling her to go now and leave Mal and Serenity in the dust. It was telling her to walk away and let things be how they ought to be.

She had to walk away.