Wish I Was Somebody Else, 15/26
Saturday, February 17, 2007

Jayne made a promise to Zoe, but can he keep it?


I would love to know whether y'all find this satisfactory.

15. I Just Got Kicked in the Head

In the cargo bay, Wash sat up and pressed both hands to his bandaged head. When the dizziness passed, he looked around. He was so disoriented that it took him longer than it should have to comprehend where he was: Serenity’s cargo bay.

In a coffin.

“Great,” he muttered. “I’ve gone from waking up in hospital beds to waking up in coffins. This is just not a good direction to be going in.” He looked around, wondering vaguely how he’d managed to get home at last. Alive. Surely he was alive. Did dead people still feel pain? Wash was pretty certain that most people believed you left your pain behind when you died, and he seemed to have all of his right with him, throbbing through every nerve ending in his body. Dead people were supposed to get all disconnected from their nerve endings; hence the no pain. And this was definitely Serenity; the mule hung from its chains above him, and it looked as though it had been badly wrecked. Surely in heaven, your mule wouldn’t be wrecked. Although, in hell maybe . . .

Wash had just enough warning to lean over the side of the casket before he vomited. That settled the alive-or-dead question for him. Wash had seen dead people move – pretty unnerving, when that happened -- but he was absolutely certain that he had never, ever, seen a dead guy vomit. He figured he’d retched up everything he’d eaten in the past six months, and then suffered several bouts of dry heaves, before the nausea subsided.

“Where is everybody?” he wondered aloud. The ship was under way; he could feel it. So somebody was aboard.

But they weren’t in here with him, he realized, because they thought he was dead. Why else would they leave him in a coffin in the cargo bay?

He supposed he ought to find them, and tell them he wasn’t. Or maybe just puke on them, and then they’d know, and he wouldn’t have to go to the effort of talking.

Zoe . . . he thought, suddenly seeing himself in her position; coming to retrieve her from some bad situation, arriving just moments too late. The nausea swept over him again. Oh, Zoe.

Wash dragged himself out of the casket and stumbled toward the interior of the ship. He might not have made it across the bay, under normal circumstances, given his shaky condition, but just now there seemed to be plenty of stuff to hold on to, balancing himself carefully from handhold to handhold as he passed along a narrow path that zigzagged through the bay. Serenity must have had good times since he’d been away. Real good times; except for that herd of cows, one time, Wash couldn’t remember ever having seen the cargo bay this full of stuff. Good stuff, he noted, when he stopped to rest and blinked enough times that some of the labels on the crates came clear. Marketable stuff. A real smorgasbord of marketable stuff in here right now.

He eyed the steps up to the common area warily, and decided not to try them just yet. The med bay, then. Simon might be there. With painkillers. Powerful painkillers. If he wasn’t, Wash could at least use the intercom to find somebody.

He heard Simon’s voice as he approached the med bay. “Yeah,” Simon said. “It’s him.” On the couch outside the med bay, Inara sat with her arms around a sobbing Kaylee, their faces buried against each other. Wash could barely see them through a gap in the boxes stacked all around. Real good times. Inside the med bay, Mal, Jayne and Zoe all stood with Simon, looking down at whatever he was holding.

Wash stepped into the med bay, supporting himself with one hand on the doorframe. “Zoe . . .” he said.

Zoe whirled around, saw him, and shrieked. She stumbled backward into Mal, who caught her and stood her back on her feet. Then they all stood staring at him, openmouthed, and he stared back, not knowing what to say.

“Hey! Zoe!” Jayne said. “Look at that! It’s the gorram miracle I promised you!”

“Bifodan,” Simon said.

“Huh?” Wash said. This wasn’t exactly the greeting he’d expected. Zoe screaming, Jayne talking crazy like River and Simon calling him weird names. Bifodan? The word sounded familiar . . . Ariel. That’s right. Bifodan was the drug that Simon had used so that he and River could pass as corpses to sneak into St. Lucy’s on Ariel. It made you seem dead. Same drug Zoe and Mal’s friend Tracey had used, when he shipped himself to them C.O.D. Wash had been mighty startled himself, when that dead guy had showed up on his bridge.

So that was what Balch had done. And what Balch had really meant when he said he didn’t want to shoot Wash. That was what had been in the vial; in the syringe that Wash had thought was full of death. “The foreman –“ Wash had to stop, choking back another wave of nausea, “said he didn’t really want to kill me. Said I was useful.”

“Giving bifodan to someone who’s wounded is risky business,” Simon said, his gaze taking in the stitches above Wash’s ear. “He could have killed you.”

“Huh,” Wash said. “You know. I think he knew that.”

Zoe recovered herself, passing from shock to rage in an instant. She took two steps and punched Wash in the face, her fist catching him just beneath his left eye and collapsing him against the bulkhead behind. She stood over him, speechless with fury, then vanished up the stairs outside the med bay.

“Wash!” Kaylee launched herself through the door, burying Wash in an exuberant hug, not caring that he was now sitting against the bulkhead, or that his vision went momentarily black when she squeezed him around the ribs. “You’re alive!” She kissed his bandaged forehead and ruffled his matted hair, then hugged him again, laughing.

Mal dragged her off. “All right,” he said, “Let the man breathe.” He offered Wash a hand up, and Wash stood shakily with his shoulders pressed against the wall.

Simon edged in to tug at the edge of the bandage and look at Wash’s stitches. “A bad job, but too late to redo it now,” he commented, then added “If it was bifodan, there’s probably a mess in the cargo bay that needs cleaning up.” He glanced around at the others, and pursed his lips, considering. "Don't go anywhere," he said to Wash. "Soon as everyone says their hellos, I want to give you a thorough going-over."

"But --" Wash protested weakly, but Simon had already slipped out the door, and disappeared.

Inara came in. “Welcome back,” she said, and he saw tears welling in her eyes and a genuine smile on her lips. She pressed a hand to his cheek, and left.

“Good to have you back,” Mal said. “You take all the time you need, settling back in.” Then he left, too, shepherding a still-weepy Kaylee out with him.

Wash blinked at Jayne, who was the only other person left in the med bay. “Zoe hit me,” he said, unable to understand it.

“Well, I mighta hit you too, you done to me what you done to her,” Jayne said.

“You mean, dying?” Wash asked.

“I don’t think it was the dying, so much as that you did it twice, and right close together,” Jayne said.


“You missed a lot, down there at that mine working math problems and playing with cats,” Jayne said. “Rest of us damn near died.”

“Oh, right,” Wash said, “And here I am, the picture of health. Shame on me.”

"There was Reavers," Jayne said, as though that settled the question of who had had it worst. He stepped close and laid an arm across Wash’s shoulders. “Come on, I’ll fill you in.”

Wash winced. Where had Simon gone, with his nice ampules of powerful painkillers? "But, Simon said not to --" he began.

"You'll be seeing plenty enough of the doc," Jayne said. "Trust me, what you need right now is a good, stiff drink." He towed the helpless pilot with him out of the med bay.


On the bridge, River put the last of the scattered dinosaurs back in place on the pilot’s console. She looked at the empty pilot’s chair, and smiled.


Saturday, February 17, 2007 8:50 PM


Wash is back its like a dream come true!!! I lurve it!

Saturday, February 17, 2007 10:51 PM


Wash is alive! I agree, it's like a dream come true. great story, keep it up.

Sunday, February 18, 2007 8:46 AM


Hooray, Wash is back! I couldn't see Zoe hitting him though. Shrieking in shock - yes, but then would maybe come the yelling and crying followed by the fearsome hugging and some such. And it felt odd everyone leaving him alone in the infirmary with just Jayne, and a Jayne offering to share a drink with him? Gorramit, maybe you were the one got stuck with the bifodan needle. :~) ~ So great to have Wash back where he belongs. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, February 18, 2007 3:21 PM


<i>Gorramit, maybe you were the one got stuck with the bifodan needle. :~) </i>

You never can tell ;-)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 1:16 PM


Oh...I could totally see Zoe laying Wash out with a sucker punch if confronted with this scenario. Now..if he had been recovered in a coma? Then the eventual reunion would have been a tad less violent, IMO;D

Still...gotta say it's interesting to see Jayne being the one that is taking up the mantle of support system for Wash. Though I anticipate some interesting times ahead;)


Friday, March 2, 2007 6:12 AM


I can totally see Zoe hitting Wash. He died on her TWICE. And she was already a pretty wounded soul to begin with, I cannot blame her at all for punching him, I would have.


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The Four Winds, Epilogue
The end...or maybe just another beginning.

The Four Winds, Chapter 25
The rest of the crew return home.

The Four Winds, Chapter 24
Me and Elwood, we're puttin' the band back together.

The Four Winds, Chapter 23
Inara investigates matters; Mal discovers that the impossible has been done in his absence.

The Four Winds, Chapter 22
River needs Mal to solve her problem; Mal is forced to provide information to the Alliance.

The Four Winds, Chapter 21
When Mal tries to recover the cargo, will he lose more than he stands to gain?

The Four Winds, Chapter 20
Mal makes changes to his plan; River puts her plan into action; Inara decides on a plan of her own; Wash finds something he'd lost.

The Four Winds, Chapter 19
Simon gets an alias; Mal gets a look at his client; Wash gets a shock.

The Four Winds, Chapter 18
Our Heroes - and Our Villains - try to figure a way out of the mess they're in.

The Four Winds, Chapter 17
River finds out what's really going on; Simon and Zoe fall into the wrong hands.