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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1246 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Chapter 3: Change in Plans
Wash sat in serious contemplation of the task before him. He’d gotten them this far, to the spot they’d leave Serenity at, but now he had to plot out the rest of the course. They’d leave soon and he still didn’t feel comfortable with the plan. He’d have to fly them in close to the crash site, coordinates which had been entered into the computer. Close enough for walking, which had to be done in pressure suits since Perseis had no atmosphere to speak of. Looking over the schematics for the umpteenth time, he thought it was possible, but there would be no telling until they got there.
“Were you going to tell me?”
Wash didn’t bother turning around. By the tone in her voice he knew what she meant.
“Well?” she persisted.
“I didn’t know I had too,” was his answer.
“Damn it Wash,” Zoe said in frustration, coming around to make him face her. “What is your problem? I thought we’d be okay with this. I knew it would take some time, but…”
Wash said nothing. He didn’t know what he should say and he had no defense.
“You’re right, I should have…”
”Yes. You should have,” she cut in, “First that little episode in the common and now this?”
“I wanted to…”
”What? Protect me?”
“No,” he said reflexively, not fully understanding her meaning. “I’m leaving because I just have too.”
“I don’t need you…” she started and then stopped.
“You’re leaving?” she asked.
“That wasn’t what we were talking about, was it?” he asked in turn.
“I’ll come back later,” Kaylee squeaked from the doorway. Neither had given much notice to her sudden arrival or departure.
“No,” she said stone still.
”I was going to tell you.”
”And now you have.”
Wash ran his hand through the hair on the nape of his neck, not sure what else he should be doing.
“Zoe,” he said as steadily as he could, “I wanted to tell you. I wanted to tell you so many things and I, we just don’t seem to know how to talk to each other anymore.”
“So you’re just going to run away?”
“I’m not running from anything,” he answered defiantly.
“That’s all you’ve ever done,” she said shaking her head. She knew she was pushing him, knew that she was speaking half-truths, but she also knew that sometimes it was the only way to reach him.
“This coming from you?” he shot back, fire in his eyes. “I tried Zoe. I did. You know that’s the truth. You’re the one who ran from me. From us.”
“You stopped talking to me, stopped being with me, and I ran?” she retorted her voice growing stronger and rising.
“Yes,” was all he said. He didn’t want to be talking about this. Talking about it hurt. Thinking about it hurt. This was why he was leaving. Wash clenched his hands uncontrollably over and over, trying to fight down what was rising up inside him.
“I ran?” she asked again, not believing her ears. She known what she was doing in provoking him earlier, known that they needed to get to the bottom of this. But she had no idea now what he was getting at. He had been the one to end it. She’d never said or did anything that justified this.
“Yes,” he said again growing more agitated, “you ran from me. Maybe not with words or with actions, but you ran.”
She shook her head in disbelief at him.
“Don’t,” he countered, “I’m right. I saw that look on your face.”
”What are you talking about?”
“That look. I told you…” he stopped. He knew he needed to calm down, but couldn’t. “I said… “
Wash abruptly stopped and turned away, pacing and rubbing his forehead. Zoe didn’t know what to say. She’d never seen him like this and it was unnerving.
“That night…” he began again, but just couldn’t continue. It still hurt so much.
Zoe understood now.
One night, just before it ended, before he’d changed, they’d been out together having a drink or two after a job. It was just them and it had been going great. Then, maybe he’d had too much, maybe she had too, but he’d started talking about the future. Their future. And it wasn’t one she could see herself in.
And he knew it.
Just looking at her, he knew it. They’d left shortly afterwards and hadn’t brought it up since. A few days later, he’d said they should probably give each other some space, and she’d agreed. She’d really thought that they’d be alright. Now here it was, nearly a month passed and they barely spoke.
“Wash,” she said without really knowing what to say next.
“I can’t,’ he finished. “I can’t stay here and pretend to feel nothing.”
”No one said you had to do that.”
“You didn’t have to say it.”
For a moment she just looked at him and wanted nothing more then to take it all back, but the moment was quickly over.
“What the hell?” Mal asked from the doorway, unaware of what he was interrupting. “I sent Kaylee up here ten minutes ago looking for the two of you. We’ve had a change in plans.”
It wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t good either.
For years to come Jayne would claim that he’d done it fighting off three men in a bar, or wrestling a sumo champion, once he’d even told how it had happened rescuing orphans from a house fire.
The truth was, in the middle of nowhere with nothing happening, Jayne had been taking a stroll around Serenity and stepped in a hole twisting his ankle.
No one really blamed him for embellishing. It was a pointless way to hurt yourself. An accident.
And it put him in a foul temper.
Zoe and Wash, as they made their way down the catwalk towards the med hold, heard his cussing a ways off. Mal got straight to the point. There was no way Jayne could go on this job. No way. He needed to be off his feet for at least a week and the job couldn’t wait.
The short of it was that Zoe was coming.
An hour ago it was exactly what she’d wanted. She hated being left behind, even out of necessity. Zoe liked to be doing things, not waiting for things to be done. Now, she felt differently. They’d likely be gone a day, and it was a day too long in her opinion.
But she hadn’t disagreed. She’d go. No questions asked.
She saw that Wash had resigned himself as well.
There was no other choice.
The shuttle was quiet.
Mal, never one for small talk, seemed even less inclined today. Zoe was still thinking over everything she and Wash had gone through earlier, and it wasn’t easy. Wash was the only one with an actual excuse, as he actual had a job at the moment. Flying the shuttle. And it wasn’t easy.
The asteroid belt was thickest near Perseis which made sense as it was the reason the moon was falling apart.
It took little over an hour to navigate and another twenty minutes to actually locate the wreckage. Once there, landing was easy.
“Okay,” Mal said finally breaking the silence. “Let’s get suited up and find this thing.”
Again there was silence.
They knew who the crate they were looking for would be addressed to. They also knew that it would be about two feet squared. Other then that, they had nothing else to go on.
Mal had explained to them that they’d first go through each crate matching the description to find what they were after. They had a limited supply of oxygen and there was no use wasting it. If the crate they happened to open in search of Edmund’s goods was valuable, then they’d keep it. Otherwise, they were to move on. All three were wired and all three went in separate directions.
Up until this point, Wash had never thought about the physical aspect of the job. Granted, the gravity here wasn’t as strong, but lifting still required effort. And that effort was starting to take its toll.
It all came back to Medea. The spot on his back where that parasite had dug in, that Zoe had literally dug out, burned. Wash continued on, refusing to give in, to admit that it might be too much for him, mostly out of spite. Spite and the fact that he didn’t want to appear weak. That little voice in his head whispered to him every so often that that was the reason Zoe’d never love him. Because he was weak.
So he continued on despite the pain.
“I’ve got it,” crackled in his ear from the headset. It was Zoe.
Slowly, he made his way to her. Mal had already made. The three of them looked down at the box.
“Good job,” Mal said, patting her once on the back. “Let’s get it back to the shuttle then find us some things.”
”I’ve got it,” Wash said, leaning down to retrieve their find.
“I’ll help,” Zoe put in.
“I said I’ve got it,” he snapped without meaning too.
“Suit yourself,” she said, backing off.
Wash leaned in to pick it up and found that he couldn’t. His body just wouldn’t let him. Years later, he’d love to be telling the stories the same way Jayne was about his ankle, but he couldn’t. Jayne’s had been done on accident, his had just been stupidity.
Zoe had almost walked away when she’d heard him gasp.
“What’s wrong?” she asked hurriedly turning towards him.
She saw him doubled over, unmoving but still on his feet.
“My back,” he said haltingly.
“Why didn’t you say it was still bothering you?” she asked angrily.
“Now’s not the time,” he answered sounding strained.
“What’s wrong with your back?” Mal asked, joining them after hearing the exchange on the headset.
“Nothing,” Wash lied rather poorly.
Mal cursed loudly in Chinese.
“Why didn’t I know about this?” he asked to no one in particular.
“Because he’s a jackass sir.”
“That’s cute,” Wash said still unable to move, “but do you think one of you could help me up here?”
A/N -- Thanks for the great reviews. Obviously, I'm without beta :) Sorry for any errors. I'll try to fix it up when I can.
Thursday, October 14, 2004 1:52 AM
Thursday, October 14, 2004 5:27 AM
Friday, October 15, 2004 12:08 PM
Saturday, October 16, 2004 12:32 AM
Saturday, October 16, 2004 10:32 AM
Thursday, June 10, 2010 9:48 AM
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