Friday, January 20, 2006

Post BDM; Zoe discovers a package from Wash.


Standard disclaimer: Joss owns everything and I merely frolic in his universe.

A/N: A big thanks goes to my beta 2x2. Xiè xie for all of your help.


The ship was quiet.

It had been hours since Mal had set the auto-pilot to guide them through the black to the next planet they needed to visit. Since they were constantly on the move the concept of time on the ship was slightly useless. Whenever they landed a planet they went by the time zone they were in but that was the only instance where they bothered to follow something. On Serenity, the hour was whatever you wanted it to be.

At the moment, it was the figurative middle of the night. Everyone was asleep in their beds. The only sounds came from Serenity, the heart of her turning away in the engine room.

Zoe sat on the bridge, unable to sleep. She was seated in Wash’s old chair staring out at the field of stars. His plastic dinosaurs were still lined up around the console; the only time they ever moved was when the ship hit turbulence entering the atmosphere but that was happening less and less as River got the hang of the controls.

It had been almost a month since Miranda and Zoe still wasn’t used to the abrupt absence of her husband. She doubted she ever would get over it. Like with the war, the loss of Wash would always be with her, nagging at her like the pain of an old wound.

Tonight the memory of Wash had driven her to sit in his chair. At first she had seen signs of him everywhere on the ship but after awhile she had forced herself to stop seeing them. Wash had put much of himself into Serenity, spending so much time at her controls that his spirit seemed to linger, but Zoe didn’t want to have him haunting her. She wanted to remember how he had lived his life, not dwell on how violently he had left it. She had been at the point where she could stand being alone in their bunk when she had received yet another reminder of him.

It had been at their last stopover to the bazaar where their post was usually held. Amnon had sent them a wave telling them there were some large parcels waiting for them. It turned out to be some of Inara’s things that she had left behind at the training house, but there had also been a package for Jayne, cookies from his mother, and, most unexpected of all, a package from Wash addressed to himself.

Zoe had recognized his scrawl right away. The crew had gone silent when they saw the package; no one said anything when she picked it up and left to be alone. After takeoff, no one asked her what was inside and they all kept busy by helping Inara set up in her shuttle and eating Mrs. Cobb’s cookies.

Hours later, Zoe still hadn’t opened the package. It was still wrapped up in brown paper, still held together with more tape than necessary. It sat on her lap and she fingered one of the taped up corners as she considered opening it.

Before taking off she had asked Amnon how long the package had been waiting with him. He had told her that it had arrived about two months ago with instructions from Wash stating that this package should be kept a secret and that he would pick it up the next time Serenity was in the area.

Two months ago. Before Miranda.

Wash had never been the one for secrets. The man could never keep one even if he tried. Her husband had been a talker and eventually words slipped out without him meaning to. Zoe had found it endearing. It had only meant that Wash wasn’t one for deception and that he spoke his mind. So the fact that he didn’t want anybody to know about this package made her suspicious. What was inside that had made him feel that he couldn’t tell the crew?

On a more personal level, she wanted to respect Wash’s wishes. There were times she had kept things from him and somehow it seemed only fair that he have secrets of his own.

But Wash was gone now. It was just her, the dinosaurs, and the stars. All Wash’s domain.

He was still haunting her.

The first rip was done quickly and violently, like she was ripping off a bandage. Against the quiet backdrop of the ship it sounded so loud to Zoe’s ears. With the next rip, she tore the brown paper more slowly, making sure she didn’t tear through Wash’s handwriting. Once the wrapping fell away, she carefully folded the paper and put it aside. Then she held the box in her hands, regarding it with a critical eye.

It didn’t feel heavy and there wasn’t a manufacturer’s name on the outside of the box to indicate where the contents had come from. Zoe felt a compulsion to shake the package but she ignored the urge. Slowly, she pulled back the top.

The box was filled with packing Styrofoam.

But placed atop it was a capture frame.

Zoe put the box down on the console and pulled out the frame. With some of the money they had made from selling the Lassister, Kaylee had bought a capture to document life on the ship and, ultimately, film Inara’s departure. For a few days the crew had played around with the capture, filming candid moments, much to Mal’s dismay. Zoe even had a few frames of Wash back in their – her – bunk.

She fingered the play button and the frame came to life. At first the image was a blurry mess but Zoe soon saw why.

"How the guĭ do you work this thing?" Wash’s voice sounded from the frame, cutting through the silence of the bridge. The image suddenly whipped around and Wash’s face filled the whole frame. "So I pushed record and... Wait, the red light’s on." The image shook slightly as Wash put the capture down on top of the console. Happy with where it was, he sat back in his chair. The same chair Zoe was sitting in now.

"Okay. Hey Zoe." Wash gave a small wave and a gentle smile. Natural light was visible in the background behind him, letting Zoe know that he had recorded this while they had been planetside. "If you’re watching this, then something has gone horribly wrong." He paused and for a brief moment, Zoe was left to wonder if her husband had somehow known his end was approaching.

"Yeah. That sounds about right. If you’ve discovered this package then my plan has gone horribly wrong."

And with those words, a slight disappointment filled her. She hadn’t really expected a good-bye recording from Wash, but it had been a tantalizing thought for the few seconds it existed.

"See, this was supposed to be a surprise," continued Wash. "It’s not exactly a birthday present or an anniversary present either. It’s really a ‘hey, I’ve messed up in my husbandly duties and here’s something to smooth things over and get me out of trouble’ kind of gift, if such an occasion should arise. But obviously if you’re watching this recording, then I have messed up."

Wash’s tone changed and his expression grew more serious. "And I’m sorry, for whatever it is I did. I’m sure I didn’t mean it but just remember I love you very much. So no hurting the person you love. And whatever it is that got us here in the first place, it’ll work itself out and things can go back to normal. But in the mean time, here’s my inadequate attempt to make you happy."

Zoe didn’t take her eyes off the frame as she reached for the box. Using her free hand, she searched through the Styrofoam. When her fingers brushed up against something, she immediately grabbed onto it. As she pulled out the object, some of the Styrofoam tumbled out of the box and onto the floor but she hardly took notice as she opened her hand.

"Now I know what you’re thinking." Wash’s voice sounded right at the moment she opened her hand, as if he were watching her. "How is this going to make you happy? Well, it’s a promise. I might not be ready now, but it’s saying I will be. And if I never reach that point before we die happy, retired on some beach planet, well, you can at least look back and remember we shared that dream for awhil–"

"Wash!" Suddenly Mal’s voice sounded from the frame. "You asleep? Get this boat in the air."

Instantly Wash leapt forward from his chair to grab the capture. The last thing to be recorded was the blurred image of Wash’s jumpsuit before the recording reset itself back to the beginning. Zoe sat in the silence of the bridge for a moment before placing the frame back in the box and turning her gaze to the object in the palm of her hand.

A plastic baby dinosaur.

As ridiculous as this all seemed, she felt a ghost of a smile tug at the corners of her mouth. Closing her eyes, she wrapped her fingers around it and gripped it tightly. A family with Wash was a lost dream now, but it was the sentiment her husband had put so much thought into that stayed with her.

Opening her eyes, she placed the dinosaur down on the console beside its larger twin – its father, thought Zoe, indulging in the moment. She sat gazing at the two until the figurative morning dawned on Serenity.


Friday, January 20, 2006 5:41 PM


I am about to's late and I tend to be emotional when it's late, but I'm sure that if I had read this earlier, I would still want to cry. Loved it. Very bitter sweet, very appropiate. You did a very lovely job.

Friday, January 20, 2006 6:41 PM


oh my... this is a shiny gold of the best kind. It moved me in a way that a lot of post BDM fics didn't, great job

Friday, January 20, 2006 7:14 PM


Now you've done it. I'm crying again. Someone pass the tissues, please.

Beautifully done. I could see every second of it so clearly! Wash trying to work the capture, Zoe alone on the bridge opening the box, very very sweet!

Friday, January 20, 2006 7:24 PM


Oh wow... and as I read Wash's apology, I started crying. It's so beautiful.

Friday, January 20, 2006 7:40 PM


That was a wow moment...


I write fanfic. It's what I do.

Saturday, January 21, 2006 1:13 AM


Oh wow, I so adored this! Not only was it sweet and heart achingly poignant it was also a great way to sum up Wash and his love for Zoe and her love for him. And no, Wash didn't mess up. His last capture to Zoe proves that. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, January 21, 2006 3:23 AM


I love it, Wash saying what he means with dinosaurs. Just beautiful

Monday, January 23, 2006 3:34 PM




Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:49 AM


beautiful *cries* i miss wash...



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