If They Don't Leave Now
There's no time to spare, no time left to be sentimental. If they don't leave now, they never will. Mal knows this and yet he can't help but delay. Serenity has been his home for so long now that the idea of her being taken from him - from all of them - is hard to come to terms with.
"Mal, come on!"
He looks up and Inara is there, holding back, too. But she's waiting for him. She's delaying for him, not for the ship. At least, he's fairly sure that's the case. Way he is with interpreting her, he could be wrong, of course. He does another sweep of the cargo area with his eyes, swallows hard.
Just enough time to frustrate Inara into grabbing his arm and leading him away. He lets her. In fact, in moments, he comes back to himself and he's not sure why, but something inspires him to put his arm around her waist and lead her out instead. He's never been good at following.
Nothing explodes as they exit. Good news, he thinks to himself. They make it clear and a relieved Kaylee hugs each of them in turn. "You coulda hurried more," she accuses them.
Inara apologises. He simply shrugs.
Still, Serenity lays there, dead and deathly but in one piece.
The crew gather together, and watch her. Only time will tell what will happen to her. For now, she is unsafe. There could be gases inside or fire or something else that would cause them harm.
There's no use in waiting around to see when there's a whole town ahead of them that they could rest in a bit, before checking on her. When the others head off in search of food, he stays though. He stays and watches, and swallows the lump in his throat when Inara returns earlier than the rest with some lunch for him.
"She'll be all right, Mal," Inara lies.
"No, she won't. But thanks for sayin'."