"Stepping Stone"
Thursday, November 8, 2007

"The run in with Niska and the assault on the Skyplex brings unwelcome memories back to the Preacher."


TITLE: "STEPPING STONE" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: None RATING: G. STATUS: Standalone ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: WEBSITE: None. All "Firefly" stories archived at

SUMMARY: "The run in with Niska and the assault on the Skyplex brings unwelcome memories back to the Preacher." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

There were times when it was good to remember. Times when it was better to forget but for Derrial Book this was not such a time. He had thought to immerse himself in other more comprehensible lives to wash away the memory of his own far-from-perfect life. He had once told the Captain he followed in the footsteps of another carpenter but he was not talking about Jesus and nothing in the 'verse would allow him to admit the madman he had followed and hailed as a sick and twisted hero for so long. Shan Yu was most certainly evil but as with many evil men he was inordinately gifted. In a perverted way he was also charismatic. His enthusiasm for his foul passions a dark and warped temptation. Book was well read and experienced in a great many of the oriental arts as well as numerous religions besides the one he had finally decided to adopt as his own.

Adoption. A useful word for theft. Could it still be sleight of hand if it was tongue in cheek? Did they notice that many of his quotes were in the vernacular not to make the meaning clearer to them but because his knowledge of the bible was the thickness of a prop not the depth of intimate knowledge from constant use? Yes, he skimmed through the Acts of the Apostles. Cleaved if it could be called that, to the Old rather than the New Testament. Was in equal parts baffled and drawn to the Book of Revelation. But this life was not who he was nor who he intended to be. It was a stepping stone. A means to another level. One that was out of his reach without the help of someone else's God to guide his footsteps. Oh, the irony.

Now the past came crowding in holding a mirror to his weakness. A weakness he had once worshipped as strength. Glimpses. Memories. Fragments of a life that had been so rich and varied but ever tainted. A lively lust of competing passions. Jayne thought him celibate. Now, yes. Then? Not hardly. And not just the passions of the flesh, Jayne. Oh no. He had tasted and savoured so much more than that. Memories that their brush with Adelei Niska had brought to the fore with fatal vision. Memories that made him ache body and soul. "You live in a man's house for forty years..." Talk to him on every subject. You share his food. Book recalled the breaking of bread at the Last Supper. Learn everything about him. Then, like Judas, you take that man and hold him over the volcano's edge and on that day you meet the real man. Only Judas did it with a kiss.

His hands trembled as he looked down at them. Interlocking fingers that shook to hold them steady. Head bowed he looked more like a man praying than one taking up a burden. Barely able to look at his hands for the blood he had washed off them but which forever stained him heart and soul. No. This was a stepping stone. On a journey in search of Redemption. He straightened his back slowly as he took up the weight of his metaphorical cross. Book had once confessed to Inara that he thought he had made a mistake in choosing Serenity. The Captain had told him not to make him his mission. But he had not chosen, the choice had been made for him. He didn't see it then but he saw it now and the strength of that emotion almost brought him back down to his knees. How great are the mighty fallen.

Holding back any tell tale emotion the Shepherd hoped no one would ever ask him how he knew so much about the darkness in other men's souls. If they did, they might just see a glimpse of the darkness that threatened to consume his own.

* * * * *


Thursday, November 8, 2007 9:51 AM


Yeah, I think we all believe that Book is making up for past sins. This is a new theory (to me) of what those sins were and I like it.


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