Scar Petals - Chapter 5
Wednesday, May 3, 2006

In which we find Wash is awake. This chapter is for bookaddict, guywhowantsafireflyofhisown, BlueEyedBrigadier and AgentRusco, who have seemed to enjoy it (yay) and kept me writing when I didnt feel like doing any more. Sorry, I've had a bad week. :)


I dont own Wash or the Firefly crew - Joss invented them. I just make them do stuff. The crew of the Kestrel are mine. They do their own stuff whether I want them to or not. :D

Scar Petals - Chapter 5

He’s awake now. Hoban Washburne. Or as awake as he’s going to get, according to Sallie. He keeps sleeping and waking, waking and sleeping.

Kate’s standing in the doorway of the medical bay, watching him doze. She’s set them on course to the next job; far off on Sihnon. She hasn’t been there in years, and she isn’t looking forward to it. It doesn’t sound like it will be a time filled with wacky fun. She takes a tentative step into the medi-bay, and her boot heel echoes on the metal floor, even though she is trying to be quiet.

He tries to sit up. She can see the muscles in his stomach bunch as he tries, but he can’t, and it hurts; he gives a strangled cry and falls back.

“Hoban?” Kate strides across the room, looking down on the bed. “Don’t try to move. Sallie – that’s our doctor – she’s shot you up, but don’t push it or you’ll really damage yourself.”

His voice is cracked. “Who are you? Where’s Zoe?”

“I’m Ka – Captain Malory. You’re on my ship. Who’s Zoe?”

“No, no.” His eyes dart from side to side, rolling in panic. Great drops of sweat stand out on his forehead. “No, please. Your ship? But – Firefly. Zoe. Where’s Zoe?”

“Try and stay calm,” Kate says, feeling her own heart speed up. She doesn’t quite know how to explain. “Firefly – that’s - where you were?”

“Where I was?” he whispers.

“Hoban. You were on a ship when we found you. Your ship.” She wants to soften the blow, to call him sweetie or honey or something that will ease the words. She knows nothing will. “There wasn’t anybody with you. You had a terrible injury. Pinned to your chair with a spike or a harpoon or something fired by those rutting Reavers.”

“Reavers,” he says and closes his eyes. He opens them again. “R – River?”

“What river?” Kate pulls a chair over to his bed and sits down. She pats his hand. The other one is bandaged; the dinosaur broke the skin in the end.

“Zoe – Zoe.” He tries to sit up again. “Is she here?”

“Who is she, Hoban?”

“She’s my wife. Zoe Washburne.” He struggles against Kate’s gentle hand, pressed flat to his arm, trying to keep him still. “Where…”

“There wasn’t anyone with you, Hoban.” Kate feels awful. “There was just you. And us. And the Reavers. Do you remember?”

He nods, closes his eyes again, and a single tear slips from under his copper lashes, traces its way back into his sandy hair. “Not - not Zoe?”

“No, Hoban.”


“Sallie cleaned your wound, yeah. You’re tidy enough.” Ta ma de, how can she make this easier? She can’t.

“And - Mal?” he says, and coughs.

“Yes?” Kate leans towards him.

“Cap, you shouldn’t make him talk.” Tom’s standing in the doorway, looking half-concerned, half-confused. “Sallie said to keep him quiet. Hi, Hoban.”

“Wash.” "It's done," says Kate, touching the dressed wound on his chest. "I promise."

“Still got your dinosaurs? Don’t say anything. Nod if you’re feeling better.” Tom moves across the room with his usual languid, slinking walk.

“Dinosaurs?” His eyes open wide, and he looks round, again almost in panic. His hands scrabble at the sheet covering him.

“Here – here - ” Kate takes his hand and puts the stegosaurus into it. The T-Rex he’d been holding is over on the worktop, slightly bloodied. Sallie’d obviously taken it from him.

“Zoe,” he moans, and his face is anguished. He looks lost. “She gave…”

“She gave you the dinosaurs?” says Tom.

He mutters something under his breath. It sounds like ‘lambie-toes’. That ain’t a word, thinks Kate.

“Zoe was his wife,” she says sharply, quietly.

“Wode tian.” Tom frowns.

“All of them,” he murmurs from the bed, his eyes screwed shut. “All of them.”

Kate doesn’t know if he means all of the dinosaurs, all the crew, or what. She busies herself picking up the other two dino toys, and places them carefully within reach. His hand, still holding the stegosaurus, closes on the triceratops, almost, it seems, before he even knows it is there, and draws it up to his chest, gasping at the pain that’s racking him.

He reaches for the T-Rex with his bandaged hand, and Kate’s not quick enough; he has her fingers in an iron grip, the dry warmth of his hand soothing her chilled skin, pressing her palm against the bloodied plastic toy. Why is she cold? She doesn’t know. If she relaxed her jaw, her teeth would chatter, she is sure of it. She doesn’t dare pull her hand back in case the sudden movement frightens him, or worse, hurts him.

“Hoban,” she says gently, putting her other hand on his wrist.


“Yes, you’ve - ” and then she gets it. “Wash. Washburne. Sorry. Not Hoban?”

“Wash,” he says again.

The word, his name, spills from his lips like water rushing over sand, like a sheet of rain hammering from the sky, like sweeping snow off a glacier. A name of peace, of quiet, soft sounds. A name that conjures twilight and silence, a name that strokes itself along the senses, whispers its presence and slips into the shadows before you even notice it’s gone.

Kate shivers. For some reason, she doesn’t dare say it. It’s like a talisman. She wants Tom and all the rest of them to keep calling him Hoban. She doesn’t know why.

“Can you sleep?” she says, keeping her voice as low as she can.

“I don’t know.” He opens those bluer-than-blue eyes, fringed by tear-wet lashes, and looks directly at her. It’s like drowning in the sky. “I want to. And I don't.”

“Are you tired?” asks Tom.

Kate rolls her eyes at him. And the award for most stupid question goes to Tom, she thinks.

Hoban Washburne – Wash – shakes his head. Then nods. “I don’t know. It hurts.”

“Get Sallie,” says Kate. “He needs something for the pain. More than what he’s had. Run,” she orders, when Tom doesn’t move.

He scoots, and she carefully peels Wash’s hand away from hers. It tingles along her skin, like tearing off a band-aid, although he isn’t stuck to her.

“There now,” she says quietly, and sits back down. “Sallie’s coming. That’s our doc.”

“Simon,” says Wash.

“Simon?” Kate frowns, then understands. “He’s your medic?”

He makes a small sound, like he’s agreeing.

“I’m so sorry,” she says, feeling very helpless. It’s not often Kate Malory feels like a spare wheel, but she does now. “About your – about Zoe.”

A muscle jumps along his jawline, and she can hear his breath catch in his throat. She stops. If he wants to talk about his wife, he will. No sense in her pushing him. Poor guy.

Sallie must have been in the kitchen; she’s in the medi-bay in record time. Tom hangs back, looking worried, as she comes over to the bed.

“Hey there, Mr Washburne. Tom tells me it’s ‘Wash’ now. How are you feeling?” she starts to examine his wounds, carefully.

“Terrible. Like I’ve been attacked by Reavers,” he says, and one corner of his mouth twitches, though his eyes are still closed, still wet.

Kate could weep. He’s trying to make a joke. Trying to make things easier on them. He’s been stabbed with a giant hatpin and nearly eaten by Reavers and he’s trying to keep them happy. This is one crazy man.

Another tear slides down from his eye, back into his hair. Without thinking, Kate smooths it away with her thumb.

“Well, they did a good job, but you pilots don’t go out easy,” says Sallie calmly, pulling a syringe from one of the drawers and carefully finding a vein in his arm. “This should help. Just a scratch – there. All done.” She throws the syringe away.

“What is it?” His eyes open wide at the slight sting of the needle.

“Just something to help you sleep.”

“I’ve been asleep.”

“I know, but the more you rest, the quicker this will be gone, I promise.” Sallie indicates the mounds of padding and gauze and bandage covering his chest and abdomen. “Kate, I moved those toys.”

“He wants them. Leave it be,” she says.

“Kate,” says Wash, and his voice is slurred.

She turns, not sure whether he wants to speak to her, or whether he’s just saying her name ‘cause he hasn’t heard it ‘til now.

“When I’m all asleep,” he murmurs, his eyelashes fluttering like tiny red-gold butterfly wings.

“Yes,” she says.

“Will I dream?” He sounds frightened. And very young.

She doesn’t know what the drug will do. She looks over at Sallie, who pulls a face and nods apologetically, making ‘loopy’ gestures.

Kate raises her head, determined.

“No, honey, you won’t.”

He gives a sigh, soft and low like the breaking of a mouse’s heart, and the sharp contours of his face relax as the drug starts to course around his body.

And Kate wants to walk out of the medi-lab.

She knows if she doesn’t go now, she’ll sit and watch him sleeping, and that aint good for anyone.

Sallie’s gone, but she can feel Tom still watching her, and she looks round.

“What d’you want, Tom?” her voice is kept deliberately quiet. No use waking the guy who’s just been shot full of sleepy dust.

“He does know you then,” the young man says, rumpling up his blond hair, adding to his dishevelled glamour. “I heard him when I was at the door. He called you Mal.”

“I’ve never met him before.” Kate glances at Wash.

Tom doesn’t look convinced. “But he’s upset you.”

“Our losses have upset me.” She goes to the sink, pulls it down from the wall, and splashes water over her face. She must sort that out. Sallie should have a fixed sink in here. Touching it all the time when she needs to clean her hands ain’t hygienic. Not in a medical bay.

“I thought you were better, after we’d met that guy. That man who saluted you and all. That was really cool.”

Kate feels her usual surge of mingled pride and shame. “Tom, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I do, I know, they were like you.”

“No, they’d been there. They were the real deal.” She lowers her voice to a whisper, and draws Tom towards the door, away from Wash. “I’m not a - Browncoat. It was my brother’s. You know that.” She remembers many long nights of drinking, telling stories. Stuart’s mother had been a Browncoat. She’s still living, somewhere on Sihnon.

“Yeah, but just cos you weren’t allowed to fight, doesn’t mean you’re not one of ‘em.” Tom sits on the worktop – Sallie will kill him if she catches him - and leans back on the wall. “You’re a Browncoat at heart, Kate. And the ‘Verse needs more of ‘em. I didn’t fight either, but if the call came now, I would. I saw what the Alliance did. Browncoats rallied to the call, and died all over the place. But there’s still some alive and kicking, and you’re one of ‘em, even though you aint never been to Serenity Valley.”

“Yeah, I have, Tom.” Kate sits down at her desk. “I have. I had to. After Phil got himself shot up, and my daddy – well, I just had to.”

“Does your mom wear your daddy’s coat?”

Kate thinks of Phil’s Browncoat, now hanging from one hook on the wall in her bunk. No longer packed in paper and orange blossom scent but out and there and visible. Like it should be. She feels heat rush to her face. “No.”

“She should. Like you wear your brother’s.”

“Tom, it’s not – don’t worry about it.”

“But if they both died at Serenity Valley - ”

“That’s enough.” Kate shuts her eyes, and all she can see is Wash, begging her for reassurance that he would not dream. Those scared blue eyes, the hurt etched into every fine line on his face. His poor wife. She prays that, like Stuart, someone got to Zoe Washburne before the Reavers did. “Get on out of here, Tom. Go on.”

Tom looks angry, but he does the decent thing, and leaves, as Kate moves back across to the bed, and sits down. She takes the T-Rex from Wash's bandaged hand, and places it carefully beside his good hand, where the other two dinos are nestling.

“I’m gonna tell you this, Wash, because Tom pushed it, maybe too far, but now you’ll know, and if it gets any further out of this room I’ll shoot you myself, you understand me?” She frowns. “Hell, we both know I’m only gonna tell you because you’re asleep. And because I’ve got to tell somebody, else I might just go nuts.”

Wash makes a noise in his sleep, a cross between a sob and a sigh. Kate tries not to shiver again. She leans forward and rests her head on her hands, on the bed. Like a penitent in church. She wishes he’d put his hand on her head and absolve her of all she’s done wrong. Clean like his name. Washed in his blood. Pure.

“I don’t know if you done heard any of that, but Tom goes too far. Sure, my daddy and my brother are both dead. Serenity Valley. You heard of it? Some folks haven’t, I guess. Was a huge battle. So many died. Including my daddy and my big brother Phil. Lost ‘em both.”

She sighs, and shakes her head.

“I make such a big deal outa Phil, you know. He was a great soldier, woulda made Sergeant, I reckon. Sometimes when I wear his coat I can hear him laughin’ at me, like a kid playin’ dress-up.” She can feel how her accent has thickened, now it’s just her and the sleeping Wash, how she doesn’t have to be the Captain; she can just be Mal, be Kate, be Katie. Her mind careers away from the last one. Only Stuart ever called her Katie.

“But that ain’t the worst of it, Wash, you know? That he’s dead? I’m so sorry about your wife. People say that a death leaves a great hole in you – not that you need any more of those – and you have to fill it with other stuff to make yourself forget about it. Well, that ain’t true. It does leave a hole, for sure. But you cant fill it with anything. You cant pack it and hope it heals over. You just gotta put stuff round it, and hope you don’t fall in. Nothing can make it all right again, nothing can make it better. But you gotta learn to build walls round that hole, and it becomes a part of you. Makes you what you are in the end.”

Wash’s eyelids flicker, and he mutters something under his breath. He sounds agitated. Uneasy.

“Hush, now, y’hear? It’s gonna be okay.” Kate hopes he can hear the soothing tone, but not the trite, clichéd words. “Whatever happens, you got us now. And we got you. You’re going to be just fine here.”

She lays her hand on one of his own, half-petting the dinosaur he’s still clutching.

“Let me tell you, Wash, it’s been such a long time since I even talked about this kinda stuff, I maybe thought to forget it, y’know? And what with Phil’s coat and people thinking it was all so great when I tell them what happened… they don’t know the proper truth of it.”

She shakes her head, and sits forward a little, lowering her voice even more.

“I’m Captain of my own ship, dressin’ up in my big brother’s glory, wearin’ his honour like some kinda fashion, to prove that I’m on his side, that I was always on his side. A Browncoat at heart, Tom said. Well, maybe I am. But I gotta be, Wash. I just gotta. It’s like I have to prove it to myself. I don’t know what else to do about it. I just have to make it clear which side I’m on. I can’t help it. I know it must seem real false, ‘cause I wasn’t there, but I wish I had been. Don’t you see? Why I have to keep proving what I am, why I have to keep fighting? Keep flying?”

She looks up at his face, at those closed eyes, bluer than stars, the red-gold hair, the peace that seems only painted on his face, the pain and fear breaking through with every murmur, every movement, every sleeping sigh.

“My daddy was no Browncoat, Wash. He was on the other side. My daddy was Alliance.”

And as she shuts her eyes to block out her own words and bows her head again, he turns a little in his sleep, and she feels his bandaged palm and the tips of his fingers brush against the top of her head.


More soon, honest. Sorry this one has taken me so long.


Wednesday, May 3, 2006 1:31 PM


Okay. So Wash thinks they're dead, and they think Wash is dead, and Kate has a premontion-thingy about Wash bringing peace? This sounds bad for chances of a reunion... PLEASE don't take Wash from our Serenity crew! And poor Zoe! But I'm really liking this so far! Keep it up, and post fast...

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 1:56 PM


You are my hero!! I love this series!! I agree with wingedraksha. PLEASE DONT TAKE WASH FROM SERENITY!!
Looking forward to more!!


Wednesday, May 3, 2006 2:09 PM


aw, so sad. Now Wash thinks his crew is dead... and... she is fallinf for him... huh.

K, I usually think it's dumb when people quote the author in a review, but this is masterful: 'He’s been stabbed with a giant hatpin and nearly eaten by Reavers and he’s trying to keep them happy. This is one crazy man.'

This is really great stuff. Keep it up. I'm interested. Oh, and GREAT touch, that last part. A whole new dynamic.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 5:01 PM


Wash,” he says again.

The word, his name, spills from his lips like water rushing over sand, like a sheet of rain hammering from the sky, like sweeping snow off a glacier. A name of peace, of quiet, soft sounds. A name that conjures twilight and silence, a name that strokes itself along the senses, whispers its presence and slips into the shadows before you even notice it’s gone.

That is the most poetical description of a name I have ever seen. Well and beautifully done! Please keep posting this series! And angst is good, but like the others, don't keep Wash away from Serenity too long.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 5:03 PM


Wash woke up! yay! And the poor guy thinks the others are all dead. Sad.

Kate talking with him when he's asleep is great, her father was Alliance? Didn't see that coming.

I'm looking forward to the continuation, I really want to know what's going to happen.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 6:37 PM


This whole series has been really good! Poor Wash, he thinks they're all dead. And you write your original characters so well, they are just as real and flawed as the characters of our beloved series.

Can't wait for more!

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 8:57 PM


:') you tugging on my heart strings, But good seris nonetheless...Keep up the goodness.

Thursday, May 4, 2006 2:25 AM


My heart goes out to Wash in this chapter as it has gone out to Zoe in the preceding ones. Each thinking they have lost the other and totally devastated by it. You write so very well it is a pleasure to read but I am getting anxious to see the pieces start to slot back into place and dying to see how the two crews will react when they finally meet up. Shiny stuff, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, May 4, 2006 12:18 PM


"Terrible. Like I’ve been attacked by Reavers,” he says"
Just like Wash to joke about it...

Honestly, if you need inspiration, motivation, whatever. I'll poke you or prod you if you need, or I'll bake you cookies. You have a gift, and I guess I am just being a little greedy when I say I want to hear more from you.

Thursday, May 4, 2006 12:46 PM


Thanks, R-is-my-G (hell, I'm just gonna call you River.) I wasnt sure about the joke, I couldnt get it to sound Washlike enough, but he has just had a whacking great spike stuck in his chest and it's got to have slightly damaged his sense of humour. So maybe he wont be quite as funny as Joss makes him. :) Thats my excuse.

Inspiration and motivation are always good. Cookies less so, as I'm trying to lose weight for summer, (THE summer not Summer Glau... lol) although I do accept strawberries and dinosaurs as you may have already guessed :)

I'm glad people are enjoying it. I kind of know where it's going next (back to Serenity - what are the crew up to now??? *gasp* tune in next time...) but I dont know where it's going in the long term. All I can say I guess is keep reading til you get bored.

and then let me know that it's turned boring :)

Friday, May 5, 2006 5:01 PM


It wont turn boring!! dont jinx yourself! This is the best "Wash is still alive" story ever PLEASE CONTINUE SOON!! this gives me hope for our Wash. I love you by the a heterosexual sorta way.

Friday, May 5, 2006 8:37 PM


This was a wonderful addition to the series, OMW....especially the quasi-Abbot & Costello schtick of Wash and Katie having one long conversation with constant misconceptions till almost the end:)

And I am not sure I want Wash back....too soon. Both Zoe and Wash have to spend some time exploring things post-Miranda before getting back together again. Plus, I hope Wash can help Katie & co. with their demons the way he must have helped Zoe after they got together and married.


Sunday, May 7, 2006 7:30 AM


Top notch as always Mrs.W. Makes me think that I should get on with my own. Look forward to reading more of this.

Saturday, May 13, 2006 7:36 PM


Keep goin, c'mon. We're gettin restless here! Man, I need to keep up with my Wash one-shots... You're an inspiration.

Thursday, June 8, 2006 3:48 PM


I want pressure! hehe.

Saturday, June 10, 2006 10:04 PM


My patience is grudingly given. I think I'm wiliting. Yes. Yes. I am. Must have more!

Friday, August 18, 2006 8:16 AM


10!! 10!! 10!!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007 7:21 PM



You have to finish this! It's too good to languish!


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Scar Petals - Chapter 5
In which we find Wash is awake. This chapter is for bookaddict, guywhowantsafireflyofhisown, BlueEyedBrigadier and AgentRusco, who have seemed to enjoy it (yay) and kept me writing when I didnt feel like doing any more. Sorry, I've had a bad week. :)

Scar Petals - Chapter 4
Kate can't cope and has to run from The Kestrel, Hoban Washburne is still on board her ship, and there's a little private party in one corner of the bar...

Scar Petals - Chapter 3
Zoe tries to stay together. Mal tries to help. The crew of the Kestrel may have a problem. Set at end of BDM, so spoilers. Slight naughty language in translations. Occasional grimness. Please enjoy...

Scar Petals - Chapter 2
Set at the end of the BDM, so spoilers. PG13 for gore and grimmity, but will be NC17 later I suspect. This story is for ItsAWash and EngineAngel.

Scar Petals
The crew have gone to fight the Reavers, leaving Wash alone. Spoilers from the BDM - set towards the end of the movie. Will be NC17 later. PG13 for gory fighting, I guess. This fanfic is for ItsAWash and EngineAngel, who inspired me to get on with it and get it posted.