Eidolon (Chapter 13)
Friday, August 19, 2011

A ballet, solemn as a temple dance, that only she knew. Dressed in bleached linen, she glowed in the cold moonlight nearly as much as her partners, a ghostly mirror to them as she meandered, then bowed low every few steps in an arabesque. (Life)


Normally, he would have been looking after his sister. She had been upset about the crew leaving, and finally had calmed down enough only minutes before to insist they go outside, some sort of claustrophobic whim having taken hold of her. For him to deny her anything that might be some relief for her distress was unthinkable.

The outpost was quiet, a few villagers standing around chatting, gathering wayward children or watching their play indulgently, but most had already retired into the tunnels under the domiciles for the night.

Day and night, they all took turns watching their flocks or staying behind with the children. The rotation of shifts was comfortable, even routine, and sometimes he could almost forget that even here, they carried guns everywhere no matter what the job.

He hadn't thought of the others much, his attention needed as a doctor and brother. Now he was reminded acutely. Bovine, River had proclaimed, peering oddly, unfathomable and knowing. He'd decided not to ask, and his poor Ophelia had danced off after - or perhaps with - the fireflies that had emerged from the tall grass. Some sort of ballet, solemn as a temple dance, that only she knew. Dressed in bleached linen, she glowed in the cold moonlight nearly as much as her partners, a ghostly mirror to them as she meandered, then bowed low every few steps in an arabesque.

Zoë was left a radio instead of rue. After overhearing River's transmission, the soldier had sharpened into an intensely focused state. She reminded him of the tiger banners hung all over Capital City four years ago on yuándàn.

"Sir?" she hailed. Some small amount of concern broke through her stoicism. Hadn't she been arguing with the captain earlier? She didn't forgive easily; Niska's fate, both times storming his complex was an example of her wrath. Yet Mal seemed a special exemption, or perhaps the deference was just professionalism.

No answer. Simon climbed to his feet. "What's going on?"

"Radio silence," Zoë answered humourlessly. Her eyes, dark and fierce in her stone carved face said the rest - or worse.

She held a simmering anger, at the yúmùnǎoké captain, for rushing heedlessly into danger. Or for leaving her behind. Or at a brother and sister, for needing her protection. At herself? Maybe all of it. Sometimes he wondered if she blamed River and himself for everything that had happened. Other times, he knew that she did.

"They haven't been caught by the Alliance, have they?" he asked. They would have to leave, quickly. If they hurried, maybe they could think of some way to save them. Before Jayne sold them out. Or, what if they tortured them? He used to think the Alliance was above such brutality. But if they thought Ezra was in open rebellion... He imagined Mal, Jayne, and even Inara might be able to withstand torture. Not Kaylee.

Zoë sighed, some of her frustration escaping as she exhaled. "Captain's never had stealth and subtlety for his strong points. Likes to confront things head on," she said, her observation sounding tired. "And I think he's got the kind of girl trouble with him he'd do anything to impress."

"Even risk their lives?" Alarming, but Simon wouldn't have put it past the captain either, and found Zoë's assessment all too consistent with his own.

Her hand floated up and over to rest her stomach, some not too distant memory playing behind her eyelids. "Person can risk a lot, they care enough. Ain't always thinkin' straight when we steal sisters from Alliance doctors, or stay on a deathtrap with the husband 'cause a friend's in a bad way."

Her fingers clenched against her leather vest; now that he was looking, it wasn't cinched as tight as usual. "When are you going to tell him?" His casual question got a not-so-casual reaction, her head jolting up and around. Off her look, he clarified, stumbling. "The captain. That you're... pregnant?"

Her blank stare didn't change and Simon once again marveled at how well he could misread a situation. "Doc," she said slowly, "You callin' me fat?"

"Ah, no. Of course not," he backpeddled, very much aware of how she towered over him and could probably break him in half. "I only said you were expecting, you haven't gained any noticeable weight yet." Zoë's expression was still unreadable, but untold emotions were still flickering through her eyes too fast to follow. He realized it suddenly. "You didn't know."

She was quiet for some time, until he thought he had offended her again. Then she spoke, low and deep. "We'd been talkin' on it some time, even both of us settin' aside our cuts for a nest egg. After the Reavers almost got us on Lilac, it shook us both. He agreed we could try for a baby, I agreed we would leave Serenity when we got to Beaumonde." Both of her hands were clutched around her stomach now, like holding back the pain of an ulcer, or like she'd swallowed one of Jayne's grenades. "Ain't had any sickness."

Simon tried for soothing, the faked optimism he had never quite perfected on his rounds around the trauma ward. "Not everyone does." Beaumonde, that would be about four months. "I don't have any pregnancy tests, but this far along I might be able to hear a heartbeat."

Her gaze dropped, focusing her attention inward, as though she could hear her growing child within her if she listened. "I must've missed, didn't even notice the signs." A tremor of anger and self disgust stabbed through her voice. "Didn't even notice."

He felt confused, and a little uneasy, not sure what was happening here. This was good news, wasn't it? Was she going to punch him for telling her? "You were distracted," he tried.

"Gǒupì," she dismissed sharply, the no-nonsense corporal. "Weren't dead, either." He wasn't quite able to hide his wince at the hardness he heard, and was grateful when Zoë's radio emitted a crackle of static, amazed at the military efficiency with which she could switch to business. "Captain."

The response was a few moments coming. "Inara got us an in." Well, at least they were all okay. "Shuttle clearance, tomorrow. Lookin' at an oh-seven departure. Be ready."

The comm device went silent again, nothing said about the danger Mal had mentioned earlier. He could see Zoë, torn between her past and her future again, trying to decide, and could also see the moment when she gave in and her loyalty won out. He suspected this wouldn't always be the case. "Best gather your sister and whatever you're taking tonight," Serenity's first mate suggested.

The reminder drew his attention back to something very important, more so because of the absence. He startled; the grassland was suddenly empty and the fireflies were now very alone. "River?"


Friday, August 19, 2011 9:55 AM


Gonna be about a week's gap in updating. See you all around September 2nd.

Friday, August 19, 2011 1:12 PM


Uh-oh, where has River gone while Simon was talking to Zoe?
Zoe pregnancy certainly seems to be a theme here with recent Firefly fics. Four months? And she really didn't notice? And here I thought I was pushing the limits of credibility when I had her three months along before confirming it in my story. Ah, well, I suppose in your story line, she's even more distressed, abstracted and deeper in denial. And definitely angrier. It all fits. :-)

Friday, August 19, 2011 2:03 PM


Well the thing about sickness is true, some people don't get it, and women only really start to show at 3 to 4 months, so it may not be noticeable at first.

The main clue most women have is their monthly cycle, but when someone's frame is as thin and lean as Zoe, it isn't always regular.

But yes, the only reason I could push it to four months is only if she didn't have any morning sickness. And yeah, she has been distracted.

Saturday, August 20, 2011 2:37 AM


I hope River hasn't got herself in any trouble. Pleased that Simon was on the ball in realising that Zoe was pregnant and all of Zoe's responses were totally in character. I liked the way you expressed her thoughts and hope all goes well at Mal's end so our little dysfunctional family can be reunited again. But where oh where is River? Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:05 PM


I'm setting you up for something anti-climactic in regards to River, I'm afraid, but that in itself sets up for something else.

Also it's important to recognize that I was never planning to have a Zoe baby story arc, and I threw this in at the last minute after receiving new information. That's the thing about writing as slow as I do, sometimes canon is confirmed or changed before I get a chance to post. On the other hand, at least I'm usually pretty good at KEEPING canon because of it.


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Eidolon (Epilogue)
Someday, she knew they would visit the graves of Serenity Valley and not hear the howl of the ghosts. Someday, they would walk across the green prairie of a restored world and watch the rain. (Glimpses)

Eidolon (Chapter 40)
Clouds were blossoming in the distance, promising rain for the city later. The crew of Serenity and the badlands around Eavesdown Docks to the south would probably see only a harsh windstorm. Two different worlds, she mused, caught between them. (Deliverance)

Eidolon (Chapter 39)
The question seemed to hit her hard. In the mirrors of her eyes, he saw himself, forced to see her lose more ground every day. Hurt more, because of him. Saw her watching him back as she pulled him out of a nightmare. (Try)

The Gift
They don't have much. But they have each other. (Just a little holiday story from the Firefly verse. Belongs to Joss)

Eidolon (Chapter 38)
The girl processed that response. "He brought the medicine? He saved us?" Inara nodded, considering her own inclusion in the question. (Renewed)

Eidolon (Chapter 37)
A wind clear and sweet stirred the air, humming as a shimmering, ever-shifting blaze of color flashed from one horizon to another. The breeze carried with it a distant song, rising over the hills and through the vales like a soulful hymn from his childhood. (Flight)

Eidolon (Chapter 36)
"I cut the strings. They were never yours anyway.”(Liberation)

Eidolon (Chapter 35)
A few twists of a little turnscrew and the mechanic was stripping wires and rerouting circuits in moments. (Break)

Eidolon (Chapter 34)
Stars scattered in the night, coalesced from the stellar dust from a far away sun and others that came before. A spark, scintillating into a network, a stream, like the lights and streets of a city. (Cascade)

Eidolon (Chapter 33)
"Put me back in that place," River said, "Little bluebird singing in a cage, puppet on broken strings." (Capture)