Disclaimer: I'm so broke at this point that all suing me would get you is a Middle Earth poster and backpack with a giant hole in the bottom.

A/N: Seriously need a job. Not that that has anything to do with this story which came out of nowhere while I was doing laundry. Post-BDM, Rayne implied, CRI (or Crazy River Imagery if you're not familiar) and some clichés. What can I say, I'm medicated. Read, enjoy, let me know what you think.

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"She has never been anyone's baby doll."

"Well, ain't that a shame?"

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His voice came from his blood.

She tried to explain it once. Explain how Simon's voice came from his hands and Daddy's came from brown leather and memory. But he didn't understand how it worked, didn't understand that Zoë kept Wash's voice in her belly now and that the pages of Shepard's tome held his. He didn't understand that his voice, the boom-down of thunder and gun fire and iron all came from the blood he spilled—from him and other men—didn't understand that his voice had stained her hands and her filled her mouth.

"You sound red." She told him and he didn't have to flinch for her to see it.

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Daddy didn't approve. Simon tried to kill him. Not Daddy, but Jayne, tried to strangle him at the dinner table because it appeared her brother had finally forgotten proper table manners. Jayne knocked him down easy but his voice was seeping from his nose where Simon's fist had struck—her brother's power was in his hands, always and forever, even when Simon didn't know—and the Captain pulled his pistol.

"Y'all settle the hell down. Now."

No one talked for a while.

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"Why mei-mei?"

There was desperation in Simon's face, and his hands were fixed knuckle-white on the back on a chair.

"Because," she said, mouth a thin line of sanity and reason, "I have never been someone's baby doll."

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Her voice didn't come from her blood. It didn't come from her hands or a tome or memories. Her voice came from Serenity in a way that she couldn't explain to anyone who would listen. Her voice came from the ship and Simon couldn't understand that she couldn't go back to anything that was before and that she couldn't move forward to anything that came after. She was fixed now, put together with pieces of starlight and gun oil, wielding her voice with her hands.

She tried to explain it was safe there, because there were too many voices in her head to leave much room for her own.

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"She is my voice. I am hers." A tilt of the head towards the bulkhead and a loving pat. "I cannot leave her and I do not wish to leave her. She is at home here. He is at home here. Simon will not stay. Not forever. So the equation functions as it should. It works in present tense and there is no need to conjugate anything different." She nodded happily. "Does that make sense?"

Jayne shrugged a shoulder and put another one of his girls together.

"As much as anything else does around here baby doll." She took it as it yes.

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End

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