Lessons (Part 6/11)
Friday, December 30, 2011

Zoë and Kaylee have a chat, Jayne makes a run for it, and Wash and Simon also have a chat.



"They were the Alliance's very best agents. Special ops, undercover missions, infiltrations, that sorta thing. Gave us hell more than once."

It was early morning and Kaylee and Zoë were huddled together in the engine room, the mechanic listening wide-eyed to the first mate's whispered words.

"Towards the end of the war we finally managed to get hold of the secret code name for their cell. It was Adelaide."

Kaylee's palms grew moist with sweat as she felt a cold shiver down her spine and nausea building in her stomach. "And you… and you think Shepherd Book was a member?" Her voice cracked halfway through the question.

Zoë kept her eyes sternly at her. "Don't rightly know what to think," she said. "But I do know the shepherd ain't always been a shepherd. Man knows way too much. 'Bout crime and violence."

"Oh gosh." Kaylee swallowed hard. "I was really rootin' for that old girlfriend option."

"Well, this don't prove nothin'," Zoë underlined. "Might still be somethin' real innocent. Or nothin' at all."

Kaylee nodded, but she didn't quite dare to believe that right now and it sure didn't look like Zoë was either. "How come you suddenly remembered this?" she asked.

"The cell was based on Selene. Wash discovered they've founded a town there now, bearing the same name: New Adelaide."

"So you told Wash?"

"No." Zoë shook her head. "Not about the pin or my suspicions 'bout Book. I think we oughta keep that 'tween the two of us for now."

Kaylee cast a short glance towards the hallway, checking to see if it was really empty. "But if he's an Alliance spy, shouldn't we tell the captain?"

"Well, like I said, we don't know if he really is. And even if he was once, don't mean he's one now. The war's long gone." She paused for a moment before she continued, "Look, the shepherd's been with us for a year now, and he's proved time and again he can be trusted. I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt."

Kaylee studied her. "You know, it would really help if you looked like you mean what you're sayin' right now."

Zoë smiled a little and reached out and gently touched her arm to comfort her. "You trust me, don't you? I'll tell the captain if I deem it necessary. Until then, just keep on pretendin' nothin' happened."

Kaylee stared down at her hands. "Not sure I can."

"You can," Zoë said, leaving no room for debate.

The mechanic sighed heavily. "Wish I never found that gorram pin."

Zoë's face softened a bit and she patted her arm in an almost absentminded manner. "I know."


Jayne was halfway out of bed before he realized he needed a plan. He'd managed to move to the edge of the mattress and put his uninjured leg on the floor, but the cast on the other was quite heavy and he wasn't sure how to proceed. He would need a crutch or something, and it was while he considered his very limited options that he spotted her.

Crazy was peering at him through the small crack between the sliding door and the doorframe. He couldn't see much more than her eye, but he knew it was her.

The dreamy yet haunted look; the intense stare that seemed to pierce his very soul.

He froze and stared back and when she realized he'd discovered her, she slid the door further open, revealing her whole tiny frame. She never looked away, just studied him intently.

He opened his mouth to speak, but she beat him to it. "Eagle's not flapping his wings," she said in her trademark flat voice, while tilting her head a little to the side. "Doesn't make him weak. The wind still carries him."

His first reaction was to yell or bark at her, tell her to shut her crazy mouth and leave him alone, but then he recalled what Book had told him and so he just took a deep breath and said, "So I'm, like, an eagle now?"

Her face stayed grave. "Always have been."

"Well," he said, finding it surprisingly easy to stay calm. "I got no ruttin' idea what that means."

The shadow of a smile crossed her lips. "I do."

She never got to further explain what that meant (if she even was planning to), because Simon arrived just then and firmly placed his hands on her shoulders. "River, don't bother him," he said and gently nudged her on her way, before he glanced back inside the room at Jayne. "What do you think you're doing? Get back into bed."

"I am in bed!" Jayne protested.

"You know what I mean," the doctor retorted.

Jayne glared at him, weighing his options. Eventually deciding that fighting the doctor wasn't worth it at this point, he lifted his leg back unto the bed and lay back, actually feeling a little lightheaded and tired but hell bent on not showing it.

Simon gave him one last daring look and then closed the door.


Later that day, as Simon was sitting in the lounge area by the kitchen making notes in his journal, he was joined by Wash. "Hey, Doc," he greeted him and headed to the stove looking for dinner leftovers.

"Evening," Simon nodded.

Wash peered into the pans and pots but found nothing, so instead he ripped open a pack of old biscuits and put one in his mouth with a satisfied grunt. He came over to Simon and offered him one too, but the doctor declined. The pilot tilted his head, eyeing the journal with interest but not really snooping. "Come up with a hobby yet?" he asked.

Simon smiled. "Still working on that one, I'm afraid."

"As long as you're keepin' busy."

"Yeah," the doctor mumbled and glanced down at the words he'd scribbled.

Wash took a seat on the opposite side of the lounge table, happily chewing his biscuits, and Simon looked back up at him, eyeing him silently for a little while.

"How do you do it?" he eventually asked.


"How do you stay so relaxed and positive all the time? And don't tell me it's your dinosaurs, 'cause it has to be more than that."

Wash chuckled. "No, as much as I want to I can't let the dinos take all the credit. Thing is, I learned a valuable lesson some years back, when I was in flight school." He leaned forward a little. "See, I was positively determined to graduate as the top of my class. Absolutely obsessed with the idea. And so I studied and trained night and day, never let anything distract me from my goal. I never went to parties, I neglected my friends, nothing else mattered."

He paused, sat back in his chair again and made a little gesture with his hand. "I came in second. And the guy who won, and achieved the highest possible grades, was a party animal without comparison. Of course, it later turned out he'd cheated, but I don't think that ruins the morale of the story."

"And what exactly would that be?" Simon asked, a little confused.

"That some things are just beyond your control. And as soon as you accept that, you're free. Sure you don't want a biscuit?"

"No thanks, I'm good," Simon replied and then he was silent for a while, pondering the other man's words. Despite the weird story and the fact that he had no idea how the pilot managed to draw such a morale from it, the morale itself wasn't all that bad.

Wash finished eating and stood. "Of course the dinosaurs helps," he added. "And my offer still stands. Come play with them if you want."

With a wave he turned and left for the bridge, leaving Simon to watch him go with a growing smile on his face.




Friday, December 30, 2011 7:40 AM


I always suspected that Wash had wisdom that hadn't been tapped yet. Nice to see snippets peeking through. Don't like the notion that Book was an Alliance agent but it's not that hard a stretch. After all, everyone was something else before they are what they are now. Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:06 PM


Well, even though Mr. Universe cheated to score class valedictorian, I think Wash realizing that there are some things outside of one's own control and not to obsess over them is a great lesson! And I love how he educates Simon on his wisdom!


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