Disclaimer: I don't own Firefly, Serenity, or anything that has to do with those.
A/N: Wash's POV, post BDM, so there are spoilers. Also, this may be extremely unrealistic/unbelievable and outragiously out of character, and I would like to apologize for that profusly. Also, please enjoy.
The Crappy Town Where I'm A Hero
To be honest, I should have expected something like this. I'm pretty sure there's a law somewhere that says the funny guy has to be the hero for the cannibals. Or, in my case, the Reavers.
I don't want to know how they brought me back to life, but apparently they remember how I got away from them all that long time ago at Whitefall. They're tryin' to brainwash me, makin' me watch while they work. Then, I'll be their pilot.
I think it's working.
I've stopped feeling sick when I watch, now I feel numb. It's like my brains all foggy. I try to make jokes, but they've gone. I can't find them anymore. They've gone to a far away place to join all my memories that don't have to do with piloting. It doesn't matter, though; the jokes would just go right over these bastards' heads anyway.
I'm flying for them now, but I still get to board the ships. We're comin' up on a nice one now. Firefly class. Why does that ring a bell?
I'm not completely gone yet, so I notice somethin' odd pokin' around in my brain. A thought projected through the numbness, a name. Wash.
I start, jumpin' five feet in the air, 'fore I bolt outa that cockpit. I sneak my way through the Reavers to the only shuttle left. I hope it's in good condition.
There's a suit in it, which is good, 'cause I need a way to get on that ship. Although, I'm not sure how the welcome's gonna be, since I've got a ring through my nose and a huge red scar on my chest.
But I have to know why that ship is so familiar. I get the shuttle out easy enough, makin' it seem like it just fell off, and I glide over to the ship. I pop out when I'm close enough and find a way in.
I'm face to face with a gun held by a very angry looking woman.
Another few thoughts pop through the fuzzy white clouds in my brain. Zoë and Wife.
"Zoë." It sounds strange coming out of my mouth. I haven't made any sounds beyond grunting and screaming for a long time. Something passes in her angry eyes, something soft.
"Take off your helmet." She growls. I'm not used to complying. Usually, it's just kill and eat and ignore the screaming little man behind the numbness who tells you it's wrong. I take off my helmet 'cause the little man says he doesn't want to die.
"Zoë." I say it again. "Who… am… I…?" The sounds are hard to form and it takes me a minute to say what I want. There's a sadness in her eyes, replacing the anger completely.
I take off my suit, with the gun still pointing at me. The circular scar on my bare chest sits there like a target for her to shoot at. I feel the ship go to hard burn, away from the Reavers, away from my home.
Footsteps are coming, the thoughts are back. The name comes before the person and I realize I'm not the one thinking them. Mal.
"Zoë, what's goin' on here?" Mal asks when he sees me. Zoë tries to speak, but she audibly chokes and begins to sob. For some reason, I want to hold her, but the fear of being shot holds me back. I watch male put an arm around her, comforting her but keeping an eye on me.
Your job. The voice in my head says.
"Mal," I say it slowly, slower than I said 'Zoë.' He stares at me, tryin' to figure it all out. I point to myself. "Wash?" I ask. Mal takes out a gun and that's the last thing I remember.
I wake up strapped to a bed in a very white room. People are peering in through the windows at me and a man is doing something to my chest.
"Whoever patched you up did a poor job," he says. Simon, my brain says.
"Simon," I say. I'm even slower now, groggy from the bump on my head. The door opens and a girl walks in. She bears a resemblance to Simon, but I can't place the relation. Mal follows her in, looking angry.
"So, River, is he dangerous?" she stares down at me, almost as if she's ignoring Mal's question. But she answers.
"He isn't angry." She pauses. I know she isn't done, but Mal doesn't seem to.
"That ain't what I asked Darlin'," he says. She glares at him, I laugh. A foreign sound.
"He hasn't seen enough, he's only numb. Can't remember, but he's starting to.
"Not on… my… own," I say. She nods and looks to Simon.
"I helped him. I had to, when I found him. He seemed lifeless, so I poked around and gave him his name back."
"You can do that?" Simon looks confused, and River gives him a sad smile.
"He was vulnerable."
"Is he dangerous?" Mal repeats, obviously growing impatient.
"They made a mistake, tryin' to turn a dead man. Brought him back to fly, thought he'd be easy to turn. There's too much in him, too many happy memories."
"River," Mal's warning now, River just gives him a look.
"No, if he remembers. Yes, if he forgets."
"Will he remember?"
"Got him off in time. A little sleep and some prodding and he'll remember. Mostly."
"Mostly?" It's Zoë now, her eyes are red from crying.
"Some things are lost forever. Can't say what, but death took them away."
I'm sick of sleeping.
My nose piece is gone and I'm all cleaned up and I remember a few things. Mainly I remember how to fly and how much I love to joke, but eh jokes still aren't there. I'm remembering Zoë, but she's keeping her distance from me. I don't blame her, I don't exactly look great, let alone inviting.
I told Simon I was sick of sleeping and he just looked at me weird. 'Sides him, the only person who ever comes to see me is River. I remember the relation now, she's his sister. The witch. She'll put little thoughts into my brain that set off chain reactions and lift the fog. I remember almost everything now, everything death didn't take away, and Mal's letting me wander about.
I've talked to Jayne and Kaylee, but it was awkward. Inara was easier, she just put on her companiony façade and we talked like I didn't have random scars on my person from who know what disturbing exploit. Still, only River talks to me like I'm a person.
Maybe it's because neither of us really fit in.
What's hardest for me is Zoë. She's avoiding me still, but I find myself wanting things to be the way they were, wanting us to be the way we were, before I died.
I guess that's it, she doesn't want to be with a dead guy. It hurts, but I let her be because I've still got a heart (It's not mine, but it's there.), and I still love her.
I'm flying Serenity again. River's my co-pilot and it feels good. I've more or less healed, physically. The jokes have come back and I spend hours on end with my dinosaurs.
I think the jokes did it. Jayne, Kaylee, Simon, Mal, and Inara are starting to trust me again, to like me. I make them laugh, that's what matters. River and I are closer than ever, now. Without her, I never would have pulled through that fog.
We're just flying leisurely through space, I'm letting River do most of it, so she'll learn, when Zoë comes in.
"River," she says. "May I have a moment with Wash?" River stares at her for a moment, then nods and leaves. Zoë takes her seat.
"You look terrible."
"That's me, Frankenstein's monster." Not my best joke, since Frankenstein is some old Earth that was book, but I'm nervous. So's she, but she fakes a chuckle.
"But your… real?"
"You aren't some… heartless… zombie?"
"Nope. I have a heart. And a brain. Still don't have that courage, though." Her chuckle is real this time. She gets up, comes over, and sits on my lap. She runs a hand through my hair and kisses me softly on the forehead.
"I've missed you."
"Me, too." I say, then I add (quickly), "and I've missed you." She kisses me again, this time on the lips, and I kiss back. This is how it's supposed to be.