A/N: This is one of my older fics that's been waiting around for me to post. Not my best work ever, but I hope you like!
"I'm leaving, Mal. I can't stay here anymore. After everything that's happened... It's too hard..."
Mal frowns and puts Serenity on autopilot so he can turn around and look at Inara. He scratches his head, ruffling his hair in the process.
"I just... I have to go," Inara adds, avoiding eye contact.
"I'm not too sure about that. You see, I've kinda gotten used to you bein' here and if you leave, well, I'll have to get used to that. I don't much like that idea."
"I mean it. Don't go."
She finally looks up at him, stares into his eyes. Solemn. Pained.
"I...I don't know what to say, Mal. I really don't think I can be here anymore. Nothing's changed to make it any - "
"Easier? No. I imagine not. But running away's not gonna help. Wherever you go, things'll be hard at one point or another. Easier stayin' with what you know if you ask me."
She doesn't respond but rather stares past him at nothing.
"Inara?" he prompts her after awhile.
She glances up.
"Please. Just stay. Don't be the one who kills me again."
Her eyes widen slightly at his confession. She frowns.
"You know from Kaylee how I got the last time you left?"
"I don't want that to happen again."
Raising her eyes to meet his once more, Inara sighs. Her frown fades and slowly, the corners of her mouth twitch up into a small smile. "Okay," she says simply.
Mal opens his mouth to continue his talk when he realises what she's just said. "What?" he asks for confirmation, "did you just say?"
"I said 'okay'. I'll stay."
"Wow. I...that's good! That's really good!"
He can't find sufficient enough words to express his agreeableness and so grins stupidly at her.
Inara's smile grows. "I'll take that as a 'yes'."
"Well. I'd best go get you next month's rent then."
"But first," Mal says, reaching for her wrists and pulling her closer. He kisses her.