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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1405 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Wash continued looking puzzled.
“The one you started telling before you left my ship,” Mal said sitting down.
Wash thought Mal was enjoying watching him squirm, but he couldn’t tell if he was being at all serious with him. With Mal sometimes it was hard to tell seeing as he never changed the inflection of his voice.
“Good a time as any,” Mal responded, indicating for Zoë to sit too, “although you might want to fill Zoë in some. She missed the first part.”
“You’re serious?” Wash questioned, getting a bit red in the face.
“I am,” Mal said and Wash knew it was true. “If you want to stay aboard this ship it’s time to come clean. No more secrets here. I’ll promise you that what you say stays here but I am going to know. Now.”
“Okay,” Wash nodded and took a seat at the only available spot, his one chair. “You both know about my father, so there’s no point going back over that…”
“How about you start with the part where they made you a cadet.”
Wash could tell by Zoë’s face that this was news to her. Not so much her face as her eyes. She never let her face give away too much, but her eyes subtly betrayed her.
That had been a surprise. He’d been positive by now Mal would have said something to her, but he suppose he had waited to hear Wash out. That had been damn fair of him.
“Alright,” Wash said looking down a bit. “When you turn fifteen on any of the core planets you have to submit to a bunch of tests. They’re supposed to determine what you’re good at, how you’d best serve the Alliance.”
Wash cleared his throat.
“So I took all my tests, bunch of written stuff and some physicals, and at the end of it they say I should be a pilot. I didn’t argue because, well because you couldn’t.”
He paused and they both stared at him. He knew what they were waiting for.
“That and I wanted to fly.”
“What type of pilot they make you?”
‘Damn it Mal,’ Wash thought as he rubbed his head.
“Fighter pilot,” he continued, “They wanted to make me a fighter pilot.”
“So?” Mal continued to prod.
“So, at sixteen you enter. Whatever school they pick out for you at sixteen you enter. Usually means being away from home three to four years, my case the town we lived in had an academy.”
“Is that where you met Lee?”
It was the first time Zoë had spoken since the ‘interrogation’ had begun, but her voice wasn’t hard. To Wash she sound genuinely interested and he appreciated it. None of this was easy to talk about but at least now he didn’t feel so judged.
“No actually, I grew up with her. She and I lived a couple doors down from each other most of our lives.”
Wash stopped again to collect his thoughts. Thinking about Lee still hurt. In a weird way he was going to miss her, despite how she’d turned out.
“It’s kind of funny because she was the one that really wanted to be a pilot. It hadn’t ever entered my head till they told me that was what they wanted me to do, but it sounded good. We both got tagged for it but about half way through training they found a minor heart defect in her. Wasn’t nothing too serious, but they don’t take chances like that. Switched her to engineering.”
“Okay,” Mal said redirecting him, “you go in, why aren’t you flying for them now?”
“I didn’t want too.”
Both Mal and Zoë looked at him oddly.
“I thought you said…”
“Ah,” Wash said interrupting Mal, “trained yes. I had no choice in that. You have to go where they tell you or you end up working, well, in fields or worse. I knew I didn’t want that.”
“But how then?”
”I failed the exit exam.”
Mal just kind of smiled at him.
“I always made sure I scraped by on the level tests, wanted as much information as I could get, but I never intended to actually fly for them. Not after what happened to my father.”
“They never suspected anything?”
“Might have. Don’t know for certain, I was never a great student or anything, so I don’t imagine they were ever that suspicious. Lots of folks fail out; those aptitude tests aren’t one hundred percent accurate. If they had of caught on I wouldn’t be here that’s for sure.”
“So you never actually flew for the Alliance?” Mal asked.
“Couple of training missions around Demeter,” Wash said truthfully. “Most of the course work was simulators.”
“So that’s everything?”
“Just about,” Wash said nodding, “unless you want to continue on from where I left Demeter? We could go ship by ship, but it’ll take awhile.”
“Nah,” Mal said getting up, “I think that’s enough for now.”
“So I can stay?”
Mal looked to Zoë.
”What do you think?”
“I don’t know. He still seems shady to me.”
Wash rolled his eyes. It was almost as if they scripted this stuff. Rehearsed it late at night when no one else was awake.
“Yeah, plus that hair,” Mal continued, “looks like someone hacked it off with a buzz saw.”
”Actually, that’s pretty close to true,” Wash interjected running a hand over his newly shaved head.
Both of them laughed a bit.
“I’d keep him,” Zoë said looking at Wash with a bit of a smile, “be too much trouble to break in a new pilot.”
“Reckon you’re right,” Mal finished.
“Are you two done now?”
Mal and Zoë both nodded. It was nice that there was no longer a sense of strain between the three of them.
Before Mal started up the ladder, he turned back to him.
“One last thing.”
“Your father,” Mal began, “you find out who turned him in?”
Wash looked as if he’d been hit in the stomach. Mal hadn’t meant for that, he’d just been curious.
“It was my mother,” Wash said quietly, briefly meeting Mal’s eyes and then looking away.
Mal kind of nodded a bit and then turned to go.
“Zoë?” he called as he got to the ladder.
“In a minute,” she said not really looking at him. She was obviously concerned about Wash.
Mal left without saying another word.
“You alright?” Zoë asked.
“Yeah,” Wash said taking in a deep breath. “I don’t think about these things a lot. On top of everything else, it’s been a long day.”
“I should probably go,” she said, “let you get some rest.”
Neither of them had moved. Not one bit. He didn’t want her to go. He wanted her to stay. Right where she was. Possibly forever.
They were standing so close he swore he could smell her shampoo. It was like lavender. She always reminded him of lavender. And he couldn’t move. Just couldn’t move away from her. It was like he was experiencing an epidemic of paralysis.
“You’d wanted to tell me something earlier.”
She hadn’t questioned. It was a statement.
“Yeah,” Wash said finally breaking eye contact with her, “but it can wait. It’s not that important.”
She smiled and nodded. For the second time he thought she might be reading his mind.
“If you say so.”
He looked back into her eyes and had opened his mouth to speak but wasn’t sure what he was going to say. Now he felt paralyzed and mute.
He wanted to tell it all to her. Tell her what she meant to him. Tell her how much he just wanted to hold her. Tell her a hundred thousand things that didn’t make sense.
And suddenly he found he didn’t have too.
He wasn’t sure if he’d leaned into her, or if she’d leaned into him. Maybe they had both leaned in at once. It didn’t matter.
All that mattered at that moment to Wash was that he was kissing the woman of his dreams.
Mal had left in a foul mood.
He was glad that Wash had come clean. Glad to have finally heard the whole of it. And more so he was glad to find that Wash was as trustworthy as they’d always thought. However he was not pleased about the Wash and Zoë’s now obvious involvement.
These sorts of things were never good. They complicated things that didn’t need complicating. Worse still, they seemed to spread.
They were both adults, he knew that. They had every right to happiness and he wasn’t about to go denying it to them. He couldn’t very well tell them to knock it off. But he also couldn’t very well have a ship full of moony-eyed lovers.
What he didn’t doubt was that Zoë would always be professional. No matter what happened. Wash on the other hand he wasn’t so sure about. The man didn’t have a short fuse, but he did have a temper. And without doubt he had an authority problem.
And these things always ended badly. What where they expecting? Marriage? Kids? No, eventually it would end. And if push came to shove, if things got bad, Mal knew he’d be out a pilot not a first mate. That was certain.
‘I can just ignore it,’ Mal thought as he entered the common room and threw himself into the corner chair. Kaylee, Jayne and Inara were all there. They had all looked up but seeing his mood quickly went back to what they’d been doing before he’d entered.
‘Could be nothing. Could just go away on it’s own,’ he continued in his head.
He looked over to Kaylee and Jayne. They’d resumed playing cards, laughing about something. Sitting too close in Mal’s opinion.
Mal stood up, fuming.
“Don’t you go getting any ideas,” he snapped at Kaylee and Jayne before heading for the door.
Neither of them knew what to say nor did they have the tiniest clue as to what that had been about. They just looked after him briefly and then continued their game.
‘It’s like a plague’ Mal thought to himself throwing one last look their way.
Before he got completely out the door he caught a glimpse of Inara smiling at him as if she understood what he was thinking.
‘Yep. It’s definitely infectious.’
Sunday, May 07, 2006 4:40 AM
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