A/N: Written for fffriday on livejournal for the prompt #124: Trees – I've wanted to write a fic with Zoe's P.O.V. for a while now, so this worked out well. Let me know what you think please!
They were almost completely surrounded by Alliance and the urgently awaited rescue ships had left them to fend for themselves. The rations had almost run out, worsening their bleak situation and the sky was darkening. It couldn't get much worse.
Night was one of the worst times. Not only was there the fear of being attacked while they slept, there was the sleeping itself. Most, if not all of them, had suffered countless nightmares and there were a few who had actually attempted to avoid sleeping due to the horror they faced in their dreams, slowly weakening until they collapsed.
All of them were suffering, really. Zoe had noticed an immense change in Mal's behaviour since all plans of their rescue had been abandoned. He had lost his faith in god and was beginning to lose all hope that they would survive. Zoe wasn't far behind him.
Zoe glanced around at the dead or dying bodies of mates who had fallen. The stench of decaying flesh was overpowering – they really needed to bury the dead soon. It required much physical labour, however, and so had been suspended for a later time. There were few left who were strong enough for the work and those who were, were required on the battlefield.
Moving silently and methodically towards a copse of trees, Zoe cocked her gun and aimed it at one of the Alliance soldiers, who was straining his eyes against the darkness probably in search of more of the Independents to kill and stupidly standing out in the open. She pulled the trigger and he fell with a thud, dead, onto the rough, sandy desert floor beneath him.
Without another thought about the fallen soldier, Zoe glanced around her attentively and not seeing anyone nearby, allowed herself a short break. She knelt on the hard rocky ground and retrieving a dust-ridden bottle, took a swig of warm water that had been in the sun for too long. The water rushed down her throat soothingly and gave her a boost of energy that urged her to go on.
Capping the bottle after several minutes, Zoe pulled herself to her feet.
Pushing on, she caught a glimpse of Mal positioned behind a large outcrop of rock. He wore his usual brown coloured coat over a dark shirt that matched it, suspenders and pale off-white pants. A smear of blood stained his forehead, but apart from that he looked physically fine. Zoe sighed, relieved.
Mal peered around the rock and noticing her, gestured towards another Alliance soldier who was making his way slowly towards her station.
The soldier hadn't seen her yet, fortunately and Zoe was able to manoeuvre herself away from the firing line. When she was out of the way, Mal took a shot at him, narrowly missing the first time and hitting him through the chest the second. The soldier collapsed, lifeless.
Zoe signalled Mal thanks and continued on.
"Zoe!" A scratchy whisper sounded behind her and she swung around to see Davis lying on his side, near death. A wound big enough to fit a hanky in penetrated his lower leg (just like the hole in another of Zoe's friends' shoulder) and he had obviously lost a lot more blood than he could afford.
"Davis." Zoe said, evenly. She leant down, a fierce expression on her face and stared into his eyes, willing the strength back into him. "Stay with us. Don't you go dying now, Davis." Knowing that he was almost gone, Zoe took his paled hand in hers and held it as his life slipped away.
"Zoe?" Davis muttered weakly. "Can you…can you tell her…?" His head drooped to the side heavily and the breath left his body. He was dead.
"I'll tell her." Zoe placed one hand over Davis' unmoving face and closed his eyes for him. Then, bending over his cooling body, she prayed. It was the last time she'd ever pray for anything in her life.
A/N: I'm not sure whether to continue this or not. What do you think?