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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Zoe adjusts to her new life on Serenity. The lack of job situations is affecting the crew.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 908 RATING: 8 SERIES: FIREFLY
Title: Black Days: Zoe
Summary: Zoe adjusts to her new life on Serenity.
Rating: PG for language
Pairing: Canon, if any
Spoilers/Timeline: post BDM
Disclaimer: No money is being made from by me and I certainly don’t own Firefly/Serenity.
Author's Note: This fic takes is part of a continuing series. If you’re a little lost see my blog entry here. Many thanks to gilliebeans at LiveJournal for all her help.
Also: Serenity specs taken from the QMX Serenity Blueprint Reference Guide. I know Joss said something about no showers on Serenity but I cannot accept this. Totally ruins the fantasy if I’m imagining them all dirty and smelly. Jayne is the only one allowed to be dirty and smelly.
Black Days: Simon
Black Days: Zoe
Zoë fell to the floor her hands braced flat on the hard metal. One, two, three…She kept her eyes focused on a point on the cold floor as her mind concentrated on her technique; spine straight, inhale down, exhale up, abs contracted, keep the body in perfect alignment. Her moves were quick but precise. Twenty-seven, twenty-eight…
"I could be the floor, you know," he said lazily, watching her morning routine with great interest from the comfort of their bed. "You with the pushups, me with…being the floor." He slid off the bed as he spoke. "Get it?"
"How 'bout you joinin' in?” She asked with a pretend stern look. “Little exercise wouldn't kill you."
"We went over that, honey. I will exercise only if we can both do it naked. Exercise that is." He looked at the ceiling pondering something she knew he would be sharing soon. Man rarely had a thought that didn't make it out his mouth. "Naked jumping jacks would be interesting."
The thought of naked jumping jacks almost had her lose her count. She shot him a quick grin which he took for an invitation. Rolling onto his back, he inched closer to her unmindful of the cold hard floor. He let out an exaggerated “Youch!” but scooted even closer all the while looking hopeful as she stubbornly continued her pushups.
His grin became wider and when he grinned like that, Zoë couldn't resist. And damn the man, didn't he know it? Her smile matched his as she moved over him to complete her pushups. But she never did get to fifty…
Forty-nine, fifty. Rolling over, she laced her fingers behind her head and began her sit-ups. One, two, three… Some might find it tricky forging a challenging regimen in the confines of a small bunk but not her. Ten years spent in the army gave one plenty of knowledge about basic PT and she easily fell back onto regimens first drilled into her by her father and then excruciatingly reinforced by her drill sergeant.
Gator Gossett had plenty of disdain for what he considered modern exercise techniques. Didn’t need anything fancy to keep the body fit was his way of thinking. Strengthen the core. Hone the reflexes. Elevate the heart rate. Easy as that.
The man had also taught her that a strong body makes for a strong mind. Wonder what he’d think of Jayne? Forty-one, forty-two… Her spine touched down on the floor hurting a still tender nerve. She winced slightly but didn't consciously register the pain; if you’re strong enough, you can endure most anything.
Forty-nine, fifty. Without pausing, she sprang to her feet working more of the calisthenics portion of her morning routine. All but the jumping jacks, that is. Every time Zoë came to that part of PT, she skipped right over it. And skipped over it today, cursing herself as she did. But Zoë didn’t beat herself up overlong on that score; she had a schedule to keep. Her mind pushed thoughts of jumping jacks aside as she continued her calisthenics.
Exactly thirty-five minutes later, she paced a small circle giving her heart-rate a chance to slow down. Her pace soon quickened and turned to a slow jog as she began to shadow box. Sweat trickled down her face as her bare feet danced about the room. The only sound was her short exhales as her fists pummeled an imaginary foe. Today that foe was Gator. Not because she bore him any ill will but thinking of the old tyrant comforted her.
After a particularly hard punch, she glanced at the clock above her bed. The arms of the Tyrannosaurus Rex told her it was almost 0545. Picking up a jug sitting on the floor, she noisily guzzled down lukewarm water. When the container was empty, she leaned against the desk and looked around the immaculate room. The bed was perfectly made. The toys appropriately arranged by height on the shelf. Her attention was drawn to the one thing that was off; the door to the closet was open giving her a clear view of an assortment of loud shirts. Staring at the orange one, she remembered how much she hated the damned thing.
Grabbing her towel, she slammed the closet door shut and climbed out of her bunk. At this hour, she didn’t run the risk that someone else was using the crew showers. Kaylee, and by extension everyone else, knew her schedule and gave her a wide berth. She stripped off her sweaty clothes and stepped into the small shower stall. Water was at a premium so she kept her cold shower short. Unless they got this next job, their water supply would dwindle even more and that meant no showers at all. In less than five minutes, she cleaned her body and her sweaty clothes. She briskly toweled herself dry then pulled her drenched but clean clothes from the shower.
At 0600, Zoë made her way to the dining area knowing that she had at least another hour before seeing anyone else. The lamp on the dining room table was still lit. Zoë went into the galley and put a pot on to boil. She pulled out two big mugs and a cheery yellow coffee carafe. The matched set looked distinctly different from the rest of the dishes that had survived the landing. As she leaned back against the small counter waiting for the water to boil, she picked up the carafe turning it over in her hands. The set was a present from Inara to her. Kitchen prettery had never interested her much but Zoë had grown to love her fine little set. She idly traced the red vine connecting the pretty flowers that adorned the pot. It surprised her how much she liked the prettiness of it and the matching mugs. The whistle brought her back. She fixed the coffee and poured herself a cup. Setting the carafe and the extra mug on the table, she went up to the bridge.
Touching the palm tree briefly, she sat down at the co-pilot’s console. A light was flashing indicating messages. The first message was for Inara. The second message was from Abner Davis. Hope flickered when she saw Abner’s face but the more he talked, the deeper her frown became. Zoë briefly debated waiting for Mal before responding to Abner. She gazed at the palm tree and the brontosaurus that someone had placed next to the tree as if the dinosaur was munching on the leaves.
She waved Abner. After the short wave, Zoë scanned the Cortex for any news that would affect Serenity. There was still no official mention of their role in the Miranda situation. Even more unsettling was the lack of wanted notices for Simon and River. Someone still wants her. That’s a fact. Zoë leaned back in her seat and sipped her coffee. She looked at out at the black until she heard someone stir in the hallway.
“That you?” Zoë called out even though she knew who it was. A mumbled response greeted her but she smiled and went down to the dining room.
"Mornin’," Kaylee said, yawning. She sat down at the table and eyed the carafe Zoë was bringing over. “How strong you make it today?”
“What this?” Zoë teased. “This ain’t nothin’.”
Kaylee gave her a skeptical look as she sipped her coffee. “Maybe I am gettin’ used to it. My face ain’t yowin’.” She took another tentative sip. “How’s your mornin’?” It wasn’t just an idle question and she expected a sincere answer.
“It’s good.” Zoë said nodding her head affirming to Kaylee the truth of her statement. Some days Zoë talked about Wash. On those days, Kaylee would invariably get a little misty eyed and Zoë would comfort her. Today was not one of those days.
Kaylee nodded back smiling slightly. “Yer old Sarge give you a good fight today?”
“I whooped him good.”
“Hear from Abner?”
“I did. Not good news.”
Kaylee studied Zoë; her worried concern clouding her eyes. “What’re we gonna do, Zoë?” She asked softly.
“Yeah, what are we gonna do?” Jayne asked not so softly. Zoë hadn’t heard him come in but she had smelled him. Well, at least the water shortage wouldn’t affect Jayne.
“Cap’n will figure out something.”
“Any of that left?” Jayne asked pointing to the coffee pot and snorting loudly clearing his nose.
“Always is, Jayne.” Kaylee replied a little coolly. “Well I’m off to take a quick shower.” With a look to Jayne she left the room.
“Ain’t winnin’ friends with your stench.”
“Huh?” Jayne looked truly baffled. He smelled his armpit. “Smells healthy to me.”
Times like this, she really missed Wash. He would have some wry comment to offer Jayne. A comment Jayne wouldn’t understand.
“We still got some powdered eggs,” Jayne said. “How ‘bout I make you breakfast?”
Of all the crew’s efforts in helping her through her grief, Jayne’s was the most mystifying. Zoë started to refuse his offer but he looked so damned hopeful. Then there was the fact that the man was actually a decent cook. Made sense, though, considering how much he liked to eat.
“I could eat,” Zoë said. Jayne grinned and jumped up. “Make sure you wash them hands first.” Best not to dwell overlong on what biological substances clung to his flesh.
“What’s the word?” Jayne asked as he worked.
Zoë watched him as he cooked. These last weeks the man had tried to be a good friend to her. Never had she seen Jayne so solicitous of anyone. It was downright unnerving.
“What about with…you know?” Jayne asked. “Ain’t really looking forward to Lin’s sister finding out about us.”
“I'm keepin' an ear out.”
“Nothin’s connecting us with that,” Mal said coming into the dining area. Instantly, the easy-going atmosphere vanished. Unconsciously, Zoë sat a little straighter. Mal walked over to the coffee pot and started to pour but realized it was empty.
“Sure?” Zoë hoped Mal was right. How would anyone know the Alliance had been after them? Not like they left behind calling cards explaining the reason for their attacks.
“Pretty sure,” he said going to put the pot on to boil but Jayne was using the burner. The two men eyed each other and the feeling in the room tensed even more than it had when Mal first arrived.
“Jayne,” Zoë said calmly.
“These’re ‘bout done anyway.” Jayne shrugged, backing down. “Zoë’s eggs,” he added giving Mal a superior look. The contempt faded from his eyes as Mal narrowed his own and stared him down.
“What’s going on?” Inara asked breaking the moment. She looked quizzically between Mal and Jayne and Zoë.
Mal set the pot on the counter. “Jayne’s making us breakfast. And coffee.”
“Oh,” Inara said.
Sitting down at the table, Mal picked up Kaylee’s abandoned mug. Seeing all the coffee gone, he set it back down. "Any word on that job with Abner?"
"Ain't for us," Zoë said.
"What do you mean?"
"From what I learned of the job, we ain't up to it."
Zoë could see Mal struggle not to get angry with her. "Care to expound on that?"
She gazed at him steadily before answering. "Job requires flyin' expertise."
Inara and Jayne exchanged a glance.
“And unless you’ve figured out how to steady down a freighter, don’t see how we’re the ones for the job.”
Mal didn’t even know what she was talking about let alone how to perform the complicated maneuver but Zoë felt no satisfaction throwing their lack of a pilot in his face.
Jayne set her plate down in front of her. The eggs almost looked real. Fluffy and yellow. Looked good, too, but she was choking up. Her eyes met Inara’s who moved closer to comfort her. Zoë raised her hand and got up from the table.
She stumbled to the catwalk. Leaning over the railing, she grasped the metal tightly. Almost painfully. Her eyes clouded but through her tears she saw River standing below. They looked at each other for a moment before Zoë pulled back and screamed. Her pain and grief echoed through the hold. She fell back but Mal caught her and held her tight.
Sunday, August 17, 2008 11:41 AM
Monday, August 18, 2008 1:47 AM
Monday, August 18, 2008 7:08 AM
Tuesday, August 19, 2008 7:04 PM
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