Offers Declined, Not Forgotten

I want to scream

Until no sound comes out

And you learn your lesson

"Broken Man" by Boys Like Girls

"Leave me," she says. "Go back to your ship and let me go."

"I can't. I won't."

"Please. Just go."

"Inara. I don't mean to be too forward nor too rude, but I don't want you going back to that piece of gos'se ship that Captain of yours has." He drags a hand through his hair. "You deserve so much more than what that man can give you."

"I deserve what you can give me?"

"Indeed. I can make you happy. I can provide you with everything you'll ever need and everything you desire. My ship is in fine form."

She shakes her head. "James, no. I'm sorry but you can't."

"What is it you believe is out of my reach? I'm sure I can find a way to get it for you."

She looks him straight in the eyes and wets her lips with her tongue. She swallows. "Love."

The silence before he responds is cold. "Another has stolen your heart. Who is it?"

"Who he is doesn't matter. I'm sorry James, but I can take your offer. My place is on Serenity."

"Very well," he says curtly. He nods his head and begins to walk off. "Give Reynolds my regards."

She doesn't reply but watches him turn a corner and disappear off into the town.

Later on Serenity she remembers the pained look on James' face as she lies awake in bed, Mal snoring gently beside her.