On Me Alone It Blew
Saturday, January 14, 2006

Post BDM; A chance for a good-bye is given.


Disclaimer: Like Summer says, Joss is Boss. I own nothing. A/N: A shout out to my beta 2x2; thanks a bunch. Also, the exchange at the end is taken from the movie, so not mine, and the poem at the end, also not mine.

* * * * * * *

He woke in his chair.

At first he was disoriented, like he had just been roused from a very bad dream. Images of Reavers and a massive battle in a planet’s atmosphere wouldn’t leave his head. When he remembered the rough crash landing Serenity went through, it all came rushing back.

He was dead.

Wash looked down at his chest, expecting to find a jagged piece of metal sticking out or a bloody wound. But the front of his jumpsuit was clean and unmarred. Tentatively he ran his fingers over the fabric, perhaps hoping to find some evidence that he wasn’t dead and the hole from the Reaver harpoon had simply been patched over. Or maybe he had just fallen asleep at the controls and everything had been a dream and that any moment Zoe would come walking onto the bridge, telling him to come to bed.

He waited, listening for the sound of Zoe’s footfalls or even her voice.


His hand fell to his side. Saddened, he looked up, past the console. Rather than seeing the blackness of space and a smattering of stars, there was nothing but white as far as he could see. And it wasn’t just clouds or the glare from a sun. It was nothingness.

So, not a dream. Wash got up from his chair. If this was heaven, it wasn’t how he had pictured it. From the way Book had spoken about it from his Bible, there should have been other deceased people, or maybe some harps and halos if the old imagery from Earth-that-Was rang true. Or, and here was an option that didn’t thrill Wash, maybe he was a ghost and he had to haunt Serenity for the rest of his afterlife.

To be part of the crew but not really, no, he didn’t want that. He’d give anything to see Zoe one last time, maybe have a proper good-bye, but he didn’t want to see her live out the rest of her life, just out of reach. That would be true torture.

Soundlessly, he wandered from the bridge to the kitchen. Every detail of Serenity was the same, right down to the handmade sign over Kaylee’s bunk and the rust and grime on the panels of the walls. If heaven was of his own making, then why hadn’t he chosen to make the ship look nicer?

Wash stepped into the kitchen. The floral detailing around the room was the same and so were the mismatch of chairs around the table. He ran his hand over the rough grain, feeling every nick and scratch on the surface, left there from dropped plates or hefty guns laid out for cleaning. His and Zoe’s first anniversary dinner had happened at this table. There was a burn mark from where he had set down a pot of rice and had forgotten to use a place mat. His fingers immediately sought it out and traced over the pattern. It was a reminder of the rare times when they actually cooked for each other. Most times it had been moulded protein or dinner at a passable restaurant when they had the money.

He felt a need to sit down, to absorb all of this, but there was a greater urge to keep moving, much like the need he felt when sitting at the controls of Serenity, flying through space. To just sit there and do nothing, it wasn’t something he could do. So he played with his dinosaurs or looked around on the Cortex or anything else that kept his mind stimulated and prevented him from going insane. Yes, that’s what he needed right now, something to keep him sane.

Wash left the kitchen and headed towards the engine room. He peeked his head in and saw the same organized clutter that Kaylee called home. The engine was noisily turning away, the heart of the ship that kept everything running. It was funny to think that the ship was still alive while he wasn’t.

He stayed on the move, walking down the stairs that led to the passenger dorms and the infirmary. The small lounging area was still there as well. On the back wall behind the worn couch, held back by mesh, were the old second-hand books Kaylee had bought for the crew - and passengers when they had them - to read on those long trips between planets. Wash had flipped through most of them over the years, but he had never really sat down with one and read it all the way through. On a whim, he pulled one out now and took a look at it.

It was a book of poems. Wash frowned, having no memory of seeing it before. Flipping it open he saw that the price had been marked down numerous times before Kaylee had bought it for a handful of coin. The back cover was starting to fall off and the pages were yellow and faded. He looked back to the front cover. The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, it read. What could have driven to Kaylee to buy this?

Wash thumbed through the pages, stopping on a random poem. He got as far as the title when from the corner of his eye he saw a shadow flitter by the doorway that led into the cargo bay.

Surprised, he dropped the book and ran out after it.

His feet hit the deck with a loud clang, the sound echoing through the vast room. Frantically, Wash’s gaze darted around the cargo bay as he wandered to the centre. Above him the new mule hung on thick chains suspended from the ceiling. It swayed slightly as if a breeze had wafted through the room.

Had he only imagined the shadow? Was the utter loneliness already getting to him? Frustrated beyond words, Wash plopped down on one of cargo boxes still scattered around the room, his head hung low. He felt like screaming, but there was no one to hear him, so what was the point?

"... green light..."

Wash lifted his head. Did he just hear a voice? It sounded faint, but familiar...

"... clear for up-thrust..."

He shot to his feet, the voice clearer this time. It was Zoe. But he couldn’t see her. There was no indication anyone was in the cargo bay besides himself.

"Think she’ll hold together?"

The voice came across clear as day, though it wasn’t Zoe this time but Mal. The two were having a conversation.

Wash considered shouting at that moment. Maybe he could draw their attention or make them appear to him. He was dead, there was no denying that now, but if this was going to be the last time he came in contact with his wife, he wanted to see her and say good-bye, even if she couldn’t see him or hear it.

He closed his eyes and implored to whoever was listening for that chance.

"She’s tore up plenty, but she’ll fly true."

Wash’s eyes snapped open. He was still in the cargo bay, but for the first time there were other people in the room. Zoe and Mal stood before him, his wife still stunning as ever. If she was distressed, he couldn’t see it.

"Make sure everything’s secure. Could be bumpy," said Mal.

"Always is," Zoe replied simply.

Mal turned and headed up the stairs to the bridge, leaving Wash alone with Zoe. She began to head back to the passenger dorms but came to a sudden stop. For a second Wash wondered if his wife could sense that he was near. She just stood there, as if she didn’t know what to do with herself. Her gaze fell to the floor and her shoulders slumped. He wanted more than anything to embrace his wife in that moment. Just to hold her and say everything would be all right.

Wash reached out with one hand to caress Zoe’s cheek. His fingers stopped within the barest touch of her.

"I love you, Zoe."

She didn’t look up.

His heart sank, but he had gotten his wish. He had gotten to see his wife for one last time. Tenderly, even if Zoe wasn’t going to feel it, Wash ran the back of his fingers along her cheek.

And then, cradled in its embrace, the wind carried him away.

* * *

A gentle breeze blew across the cargo bay, tousling Zoe’s hair ever so slightly. She found it odd that there would be a breeze. The ship was airtight. Where was the wind coming from?

The wind caressed her cheek, and if there had been any tears there, it would have dried them. But for the briefest of moments, it almost felt like a loving touch.

Zoe looked up. She was alone.

But she felt at peace.

* * *

But soon there breathed a wind on me, Nor sound nor motion made: Its path was not upon the sea, In ripple or in shade.

It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek Like a meadow-gale of spring - It mingled strangely with my fears, Yet it felt like a welcoming.

Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship, Yet she sailed softly too: Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze - On me alone it blew. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner"


Saturday, January 14, 2006 8:11 PM


I'm... dazed.

That was excellent. Beautifully written. The pacing was perfect.

Aching and haunting. This one is going to stay with me for a while.

Saturday, January 14, 2006 8:23 PM



Saturday, January 14, 2006 8:38 PM


Very awesome. Two thumbs up. Way up.

Saturday, January 14, 2006 9:12 PM


That was stunning.

Just wow....


I write fic. It's what I do.

Saturday, January 14, 2006 10:16 PM


[tears brimming]
thank you for writing this...

Sunday, January 15, 2006 12:19 AM


Good one...(words failing)

Sunday, January 15, 2006 12:32 AM


Absolutely perfect, heart achingly poignant glimpse of Wash. Seeing his Zoe that one last time even if she couldn't see him. This was wonderful but oh so sad. I still can't believe Joss let him die. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, January 15, 2006 4:51 AM


Yaay! You posted it!

Good job, Ness!

Love this story. So sad...

Sunday, January 15, 2006 11:00 AM


Made me cry. I wanted a little more confusion from Wash, though, a little more lostness. But the moment between him and Zoe at the end was priceless.

Monday, January 16, 2006 3:10 AM


Oh, I loved it! The poem was so right.

Monday, January 16, 2006 9:00 AM


*cries* beautiful. why is this only a 9?


Tuesday, August 29, 2006 5:59 PM


Oh wow. It's been a while since a fic has made me cry. This was just lovely. Thank you so much for writing this.

Thursday, February 1, 2007 6:17 AM


Browsing ... found this ... crying now. Just leave me under the table a little while longer ...


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Post BDM; Simon attempts a conversation with Zoe about Wash.

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On Me Alone It Blew
Post BDM; A chance for a good-bye is given.