Lessons (Part 2/11)
Friday, December 30, 2011

Zoë worries about the captain, Jayne's weak and Simon's tired.


Zoë was waking up. And in the best way possible. Slowly, gradually, and with a smile on her lips as all the familiar sounds entered her consciousness; the low hum of the engine, the occasional thump from the cargo bay as the cargo there slightly shifted. She opened her eyes, and while stretching her rested body and still smiling, she glanced at the walls and the ceiling of her bunk, perfectly convinced that this was the best place in the 'verse to wake up in. Next to her Wash began to stir and she crept closer and put her arm around him.

"Good morning," she whispered and kissed the back of his neck.

"Morning," he mumbled and rolled over unto his back to face her.

They took a moment to just look at each other, to take in all the known and beloved features. Then they kissed, slowly and passionate, before she put her head down on his chest, a sigh of satisfaction escaping her lips.

"What time is it?" she asked.

He stretched and shifted and reached for his watch. "Wow…"


"It's not so much morning anymore."

Her head snapped back up and she took the watch from his hand and looked at it herself. It was almost 11 am. "Ai ya," she said. "Weren't you supposed to be on the bridge by eight?"

"I was. Musta forgot to set the alarm."

She sat up, and after stretching one last time he followed her example. "Funny how the captain hasn't been around to wake us," he said. "Or maybe he has and we didn't hear 'im and he's waitin' outside ready to chew my head off." He frowned and then innocently added, "Maybe we should just stay in bed today?"

Zoë was already searching for her clothes on the floor and she turned back to face him, a half smile on her lips. "If he tried to wake us, honey, he'd have succeeded."

His eyes widened. "Then he must be dead! Maybe Jayne finally snapped and did everybody else."

Zoë knew her husband well enough to recognize one of his terrible jokes, and she picked up one of his dirty socks and threw at him. "Jayne's in no condition for killing anything right now, except maybe the doctor's will to live. I'm sure Mal and the others are fine."

"You think he just let us sleep in?"

She frowned. "I certainly don't hope so."

"You don't?"

"If he's startin' to cut us some slack, it means he's slippin'. Means his head is elsewhere."

"So you actually prefer the guy who'll bite my head off for oversleepin'?"

"Yes. At least I know that guy's healthy."

Wash gave no response to this and unceremoniously tumbled out of bed and started looking for his cleanest dirty shirt. Zoë splashed a little water on her face and under her arms, already longing for a real bath, and then got dressed. She waited a little to give her husband the chance to catch up with her, and then they climbed out of their bunk together and headed for the kitchen.

Mal was there all by himself. He sat at the table, mindlessly stacking a series of small tin cups on top of each other. His account book lay open in front of him, but he wasn't really looking at hit.

"So sorry, sir," Zoë said as she and Wash entered the room. "Seems we slept a little too well tonight."

"No worries," the captain said and sat back in his chair. Zoë couldn't hide the frown that fell across her face. This was what she'd feared.

Wash started rummaging through the cupboards. "Anyone up for breakfeast, um, brunch?"

Zoë didn't answer him. She just eyed her captain. "What's wrong, sir?"

He looked up. "Oh, you know, just the usual; we're out of money."

"The Sanchez brothers will have work for us," she said, hoping she sounded more confident than she was.

"Well, if they don't," Mal gave his little tin cup tower a push so the cups clattered across the table, "we'll be staying on Boros for a while." He looked at Wash. "When do we get there?"

"Eight days," Wash answered.

"Eight days," the captain repeated and closed his book.

"Go get some sleep, sir," Zoë insisted. "You look like hell, if you don't mind me sayin'."

Mal looked like he was about to tell her that was never going to happen, but then he just sighed. "Yeah, guess you're right. Wash, you got the helm."

"Yessir, Cap'n," Wash said with his mouth full of molded protein.

Mal left and Zoë watched him from the doorway to make sure he really went to his bunk. He did, and satisfied – but not less worried – she went to get some food for herself.

Eight days to Boros.

She had a feeling it was going to be a long trip.


Simon knocked on the sliding doors and when there was no reply, he slid it open and stepped inside the tiny room. Judging by Jayne's breathing the man was about to wake up, and when Simon flipped the light switch he definitively did and turned away from the lamp with a disapproving growl.

"Sorry," Simon said, "but I need to see."

Jayne squinted up at him. "Whatta ya want?"

"Just a check-up," Simon replied as he put his medical bag down on the chair Shepherd Book no longer occupied.

"Where'd the preacher go?" Jayne asked.

"Went for a snack. He'll be back, I'm sure."

Simon fought the overwhelming sense of tiredness that seemed persistent to take hold of him while he prepared the syringe he'd brought. Jayne eyed it suspiciously. "Antibiotics," Simon explained. "You had a pretty nasty infection going there. Just making sure we get rid of it all." He plunged the needle into the IV port at the back of his patient's hand and emptied the contents directly into his bloodstream.

Jayne muttered something unintelligible and seemed to have trouble even keeping his eyes open at this point. Simon felt his forehead and then pulled the thermometer from the bag and took his temperature, ignoring the big man's feeble attempts at swatting him. "You've still got a fever," he said, "but that's to be expected."

He pulled the blankets down and started to unwrap the bandages to inspect the bullet wound in Jayne's left side. He was glad to see that the swelling had abated and that there was no suppuration anymore. "I need to flip you over a little," he said as he gave Jayne a gentle push by the hip to have a look at the exit wound as well. Jayne tried to help, and Simon could sense the man's frustration as his body wouldn't quite cooperate. "It's alright, I got it," he said and quickly examined the injury. It seemed to be healing nicely at this end too.

He redressed the wounds and by the time he was finished, Jayne was shivering, freezing feverishly without the blanket.

"Leg bothering you?" Simon asked.

"It's in a gorram cast," Jayne said, scowling at him but not really looking so intimidating with his chattering teeth. "Of course it bothers me."

The corner of Simon's mouth twitched a little. "I mean, do you require painkillers?"

"Nah, 's alright," Jayne answered.

He tried to pull the blanket back up, but his hands were shaking and he couldn't quite get a grip on it. This further annoyed him and he muttered a few curses in Chinese until Simon finally relented and helped him put the covers back on.

"Why?" Jayne asked.

"Why what?"

"Why am I so gorram tired all the time? I done nothin' but sleepin' the last couple a days, and I only wanna sleep more."

"Four days actually," Simon said. "It's not an uncommon reaction. Your body's been through a severe shock, and in order to heal it kind of shuts itself down. Don't worry, you'll get your strength back eventually. Just gotta rest."

He picked up his bag and made to leave the room. "You want me to leave the light on?" he asked, but Jayne shook his head and so he switched it off. "Alright then, I'll check in on you later."

He exited and shut the door behind him, and took a moment there in the hallway to collect his thoughts. He had every reason to feel pleased. His patient was doing a lot better, recovering nicely, and yet still sick enough to be pleasant and cooperative (at least by Jayne's standards). River was doing well these days too (by her standards), and he'd spent last night with Kaylee in the lounge and those moments usually left him feeling elated for a long while afterwards.

But now he felt as if all the energy had been drained away from his body. And he felt tense. And worn. And old.

Just gotta rest.

Well, Jayne could rest. He, Simon, couldn't. He could sleep, but that was not the same.

He sighed. Eight days and they would be on Boros. Things would probably look brighter then.




Friday, December 30, 2011 7:16 AM


Sounds like a couple of folks are heading for some kind of meltdown. Fortunately we have sharp eyed Zoe to keep watch. That journey to Boros though is starting to feel like the longest one yet. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:27 AM


Wow...Mal must have been spaced out to allow the Washburns to sleep in by 3 hours! I mean...not even hassling Zoe goodnaturedly?



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