Of White Lights and Dark Tunnels
Wednesday, June 4, 2008

part 37....thank you all for reading and your comments plus a big thank you to Werzbowski and to Stormwind, there is a little mention of his character, Dash: please read both of these fine artists' work ...I love hearing from you and so will they....anyway, Cat sees light......


Of White Lights and Dark Tunnels

-------------------------------------------------- based on the world of Firefly by Joss Whedon

The tunnel was a dark one, void of any light save one solitary lamp posted above her head. Mostly, it was dank and smelt a little bit like 'Ski's feet after he ripped them out of his combat boots. Not really a smell she'd associate with death, though it could bring on death fits if they were ripe enough. Cat had heard of the near death experiences, almost everyone ever in the war had had one or more to tell about, but if she remembered her stories right when not drunk off her ass on smuggled whiskey brought in by a violet eyed girl, they had always involved a bright light and voices calling to you. Wouldn't it figure she'd get a flickering lamp and a smelly tunnel.

She leaned against the wall and then just let herself slip down it, placing her hands on her knees and her head in her hands. Her mind flipped from what Mal would do without her to what would her partner do without her. It boggled her mind that not eleven years back she had no thoughts of anyone else, but her assignments and her creators. In a way, at least it was easier.

A sound echoed from one end of the tunnel as a small round pebble skipped by her and disappeared into the dark. After another breath, River came out of the shadows and took a seat next to Cat. They sat for a second, River mimicking how she was seated before Cat spoke.

“So come here often?”

“You're not allowed to die.” River said deadpanned.

“Me, too. Love the ambiance.” Cat smiled at her.

“I am depending on you.”

“Shouldn't. You need to depend on you.”

“You understand what they do not.”

“And that makes me dependable. It may just mean we're both completely crazy. How many people do you know that can wipe out a regiment of soldiers without breaking a sweat?”

“Me and you and 'Ski...”

“...when he's lucky...” They both said in unison.

“Huh?! Not as much fun to tease him when he ain't around to react.” Cat replied, a strange sense of loneliness coming over her. She had gotten use to the presence of her partner next to her and right now he wasn't.

“He's mad at you anyways. Says you made him care and made him human.”

“Well, he makes me do shit I never thought I'd do so he can just stick it.”

“Makes you smoke.” River listed an example, but Cat shook her head.

“Nope, do that on my own. Not sure why.” She laughed a little. “We were doing our first bank robbery and had this kid with us, not sure his name, but his pa begged 'Ski to take him. Must have been someone he knew from the war...anyway, the kid ended up completely blowing our cover and landing us in the local jail...”

River listened intently, stories were something she loved to hear and these always reminded her of when Zoe and Mal told stories.

“Ski was so mad he could just spit and they wouldn't let him smoke. I think the Alliance could hear his foul mouth, so finally, after me wanting to kill him just to shut him up, the sheriff let the big baby have a cigarette. For some reason, it smelt so good that I took a puff of it. Been doing it ever since. One puff and the rest is his. He says it makes the smoke taste funny afterwards, and I tell him that he's full of shit, then why does he continue handing it to me if he don't like the taste afterwards. I swear...”

“If you die, you'll both miss each other. Not sure he can handle losing you, too.”

“Losing his family and his dog changed him, but when he lost the shepherd, well, he says it caused his heart to become just a beating in his chest. Nothing more. Tells me caring about him is a waste of my time. He ain't worth it, but honestly, who is?”

“Did I kill you?” River looked at her with a single tear running down her face. Cat leaned to wipe it off.

“Neither you nor Zoe knew the impact of what you were doing. It was just a stupid coincidence.”

“Ski doesn't see it that way and Mal will barely talk to Zoe.”

“They are men. Wired a bit different. They'll get over it.”

“Help if you maybe didn't die.”

“Well, my little sister, that's not really up to me, now is it?” She smiled and wrapped an arm around her. “I'm still in this nasty tunnel and I'm still here with you so somebody must think I'm worth something.”

“Simon says you could have a week. It has been only 24 hours.”

“You mean I'm going be stuck in this place for another 6 days. It's bad enough being stuck in the same room as 'Ski for eight hours when his feet smell like this....” She made a face. “You're not much of an encourager, are you?!”

“Bandage is easier if ripped from the flesh quick.”

“True. So then, why are you here?”

“Didn't want to end like this. Didn't want things between us...” The young one burst in tears and wrapped her small frame around Cat's.

“Blaming yourself isn't a logical path. You know in your head that it was the interaction between the bullet to my gut and the serum that did it. Neither of you are to blame.”

“Doesn't help my heart. It aches and I hate it.” She had become nothing more than a frightened little girl and Cat, her more adult bugger sister. Strangely, Cat wiped her own eyes as she held on.

“River, I got to go now. Something in me says it's time.”

“No...I won't let you.” The girl held on tighter, but Cat merely disappeared from her arms to stand in front of her.

“You'll see me again. I promise.” She smiled as the dark tunnel seemed to engulf her and all around her things got mighty cold.

Cat sat up with a jolt. First thing, she noticed was she had very little on, in fact, a pair of underwear and her slightly bloody bra seemed the only thing that managed to remain. The second thing was that everyone that was present was turned away, some shaking heads, others like Kaylee wrapped around Simon with tears streaming. Finally, her wound was gone and she could feel the cold liquidness of her healing circuit running through her veins. It actually felt pretty good.

Stepping lightly, she reached for a small white robe hung on a hook next to the quiet machines that had kept her alive and had probably kept the healing gene from operating after the serum's effects wore off, most could only keep that portion of her at bay for twenty four hours. Once they removed the wires, it had most definitely kicked into overdrive, by the slight and acute pain in her rib cage, bone was always the most painful to heal.

Walking up to take a spot between Mal and 'Ski, she stood for a minute, her eyes fleeting from the closed eyes of 'Ski to the fully opened and blood shot ones of her captain. “Great girl that Cat...too bad she had to die without you all telling her how horrible she is at this sentimental crap.”

Like a ghost had just spoke, each face turned to stare at her as one by on the realization hit. The first thing she felt was Mal's arms around her and then Kaylee's and River's, followed by several hand pats on the shoulder. Zoe stood away from the group as Cat walked up and stuck out her hand. “You did as I asked, Zoe, and for that, I thank you.”

The warrior woman just stood before nodding her head, then in a rare fit of genuineness, she grabbed Cat and hugged her. Maybe it was out of relief or maybe just because it seemed a mood that had come over the ship. All in all, Cat felt herself hug back. Zoe whispered in her ear. “Don't expect me to like you.”

“Now why would I ever do a thing like that?” She smiled as they separated and Cat turned to the one person she had waited to speak to.

'Ski stood like a statue still looking at her in almost disbelief. He had prepared for her to die, was ready to walk off the ship, and drowned himself in whatever liquor was cheapest. Now, she was there staring at him and for the first time in his life, he wanted to wrap his arms around her.

“So, guess that serum wore off in the nick of time.” He spoke as she smiled at him, her sweet smell drifting to his nose.

“Guess so. Probably won't be sprouting fangs for a week. Think they might have gotten the control serum done right this time.” She stood a few feet away from him as the crew watched, but then Mal did a very peculiar thing, he pushed them off sending each in a different direction. Cat turned, but Mal was staring at 'Ski. They both nodded and the captain walked away toward the bridge.

“You almost died, Babe. Don't do that again.” He looked at her and then something very strange happened. For the first time in their physical lives, 'Ski hugged her. It was an awkward embrace, and one neither of them ever had thought about sharing. As they pulled away from each other, she smiled at him and received a hard slap on the arm. “Fuck you for making me give a damn and dragging me into this shit. Almost had to kill your captain and this whole fucking crew.”

“Hey, 'Ski.” She smiled at him as he ranted. “Got a smoke?”

Her partner stopped his rant and smiled wickedly. “Thought you'd never ask.”

She found him in his quarters, running a fond hand over a book she had given him during the war. It had been a log book she had taken from one of the many dead bodies they had prayed over. The smell of old leather had led her to it and Cat figured he should be the one to have it.

“I remember that day well.” She smiled as her feet clanked on the metal floor. “You said he was one of your dearest friends.”

“He was.” Mal turned to her as she walked toward him. “You scared me, both before and after you almost died.”

“I do that to a lot of people.”

“But, I promised to accept whatever you threw at me.”

“That was before Serenity, before you had people to look after.”

“Always had people to look after, Cat. Shouldn't of matter none.” He looked at her.”You really are beautiful.”

She smiled at him and leaned up to his lips to kiss him. “You're just biased.”

“Yes, I am.” He smiled down at her. “Will you forgive me for doubting you, for...”

“Stop regretting, Captain Reynolds, how you should of done better in the war, how you should have come after me...just stop.” She pulled him close to her slowly unbuttoning his shirt, kissing his neck. ”And start living for the right now.”


*feedback is loved and read and always considered..unless you call me a bad some people I know.. :)) just kidding!!


Wednesday, June 4, 2008 1:06 PM


That's the best bit of advice so far in this story - "start living for right now". I liked the way Mal made sure Cat and 'Ski had a moment or two alone after everyone had welcomed her back. I think the man has grown! Another great chapter, love how fast you are whipping these out. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, June 4, 2008 3:04 PM


Yes, more chapters in less time, always a plus for readers. That serum, where might I have seen that before? -shrugs- I'm sure I'll figure it out at some point. I am starting to fall for these characters all over again. Can't wait for more. Looks like there's only one thing left to want, but I'm sure you'll get to it. I'm enjoying the ride, keep going.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008 9:44 PM


Cat's made her choice, and I for one am glad of the way it went! And Mal's leaving her and 'Ski to have a moment - Amdobell's right, he has grown. Become the man we all know he is really. I don't think the adventure is over, yet, but I think it's great to leave this chapter on a little loving time for Mal and Cat.

Thursday, June 5, 2008 1:32 AM


Ha! Knew it couldn't end like that! Liked that River was there for Cat. You posted soon! Maybe you are a good person deep down, after all! :)lol

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 1:41 PM


~~~~“Me and you and 'Ski...”

“...when he's lucky...” They both said in unison.

“Huh?! Not as much fun to tease him when he ain't around to react.” Cat replied.~~~~

Best line!!! Liked the combination of humor and heart.


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