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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Response to a challenge about "Weeds." River helps Zoe with her grief...
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 800 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
The funeral was mostly silent. Respects were paid as well as they could manage since their Shepherd rested in the dirt under them. After Zoë stepped forward, in a dress so beautiful it was that much more heartbreaking that her husband couldn’t see her in it, no one saw need for any more words.
Head held high and stoic calm firmly in place on her features, Zoë led the mourning party back onto the ship, never looking back at the gravestones. River lagged behind, staring intently from Wash’s holograph memorial to his wife’s retreating back. She walked up and poked a finger through Wash’s image, examining it intently. Simon, slightly scandalized, came back out and pulled her onto Serenity so they could begin to leave Miranda behind them.
Serenity departed from the cliff where they’d forever left two of their crew as quickly as possible, but the heavy silence followed them into the black. Five days and the only words spoken out loud were Mal’s landing orders as they approached New Melbourne. It was a re-stocking stop, so everyone was allowed off-ship to purchase any needed personal supplies. It was winter on New Melbourne, so River’s hooded pullover wasn’t a bit out of place.
Simon usually liked to keep her close when they were away from the relative safety of Serenity, but the lure of Kaylee drew him astray and she was able to slip off on her own. River wasn’t allotted any share of payment from crew jobs; Simon purchased anything she needed and sometimes things she wanted. On this particular trip, however, she needed something special. Something that couldn’t be bought.
After an hour of searching in the brush behind the main street of shops, River emerged with a hand tucked under her pullover and a victorious smile on her face. Mal looked at her a bit oddly as she walked back onto the ship – her tangled hair and smudged face looked a mite suspicious – but he said nothing. River went directly to her bunk and shut herself away, but quietly…because that was the rule now.
The silence was always broken for three minutes, long after Serenity was asleep. River was the only one who could hear it. She waited until the noise started and then crept out of her bunk, her prize from New Melbourne clutched in a fist behind her back. In bare feet she crept up the stairs onto the bridge and stopped expectantly in the doorway.
Zoë sat in Wash’s chair staring into the black, a plastic stegosaurus clutched comfortingly against her chest. She cried openly, making no effort to wipe away the tears that dripped onto the console. Her shoulders didn’t shake and her sobs were barely audible – from behind it was nearly impossible to tell that her heart was breaking over and over again.
River cut a wide berth around Zoë and sat down lightly in the co-pilot’s chair. Zoë didn’t look surprised at the company. There was so much quiet on the ship it wasn’t hard to hear someone approaching from behind. She wiped a hand across her cheeks and turned to River, dinosaur still resting against her. They stared at each other for a moment, each trying to interpret the other’s unreadable expression.
Finally, River pulled her hand behind her back and thrust a handful of brightly-colored weeds, roots still attached, at Zoë. They were vibrant things – crimson and deep blue and canary yellow – working so very hard to be pretty despite being an unwelcome presence in nature. They almost looked like a bouquet. The hand not clutching Wash’s toy reached out and took the offering, but she couldn’t keep the puzzled expression off her face.
“What’s this?” Zoë asked her, keeping the gift at an arm’s length.
“Weeds,” River replied matter-of-factly.
Zoë wasn’t satisfied. “But why did you -?”
“Beauty can come from bad things. It requires looking from a different perspective. It is very difficult but ultimately rewarding,” River explained seriously.
A small smile crept onto Zoë’s face. She pulled her gift closer and started down at them silently. Seconds later, River rose from her seat and left the bridge, leaving Zoë alone with her gift.
Friday, November 10, 2006 9:11 AM
Friday, November 10, 2006 9:06 PM
Saturday, November 11, 2006 10:18 AM
Sunday, November 12, 2006 12:37 PM
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