AN/ Project. I am trying to write one on one scenes between every member of the Serenity. Why? Well there are some characters that just don't get enough screen-time together like Book and Janye, Wash and River, and the subject of this chapter Simon and Zoe. Don't freak, this isn't a paring thing (Book and Janye OTP? Eww...). This is merely strengthening the bonds that lie between these wonderful characters. Full props to Joss and the Firefly squad. I own nothing.
Zoe had always told her husband she had lost count of the times she had been shot. She'd lied. Zoe knew that that it was the ninth bullet that the Doctor was pulling out of her calf as sure as she knew her own name. Nine. A hard heavy number. She must be getting old. She may have looked in her prime but sometimes Zoe felt like she had the soul of an old woman.
'Pretty clean shot.' called an un-viewable Simon. He was kneeling somewhere beyond Zoe's knees, and was playing around with that gun-shot wound far too much for Zoe's liking. 'Bullet's in one piece. Seems to have only hit muscle tissue. If you wanted to get shot this would be the spot.'
Zoe scoffed. 'The flaw in that logic being I didn't want to. The shooter just insisted.' Zoe winced as Simon finally pulled the retched thing out. In landed in the dish with a plink. Simon gave a one-sided grin.
'I'm not sure about that. What with all the stunts you and the Captain pull, someone could say you were looking for this kind of trouble.' Despite herself Zoe managed a giggle.
'Back in the war,' she said 'The Captain used to suggest that someone had painted giant targets on our back in invisible ink. And with the amount of scrapes we found ourselves in sometimes found myself wondering if it were true.'
Simon unfurled himself from his position, stiff legged. As Zoe saw him reach to the medical kit on the bench she knew what this meant. Stitches. Zoe had seen men's heads explode, and comrades sliced in half. Lengthways. She had waded through mud that was more red than brown. Yet, even after all these gruesome sights, she could never get a handle on stitches. There was just something unnatural about the way the skin moved as the thread tugged at it. It was one of the few things in life that made her queasy. Simon pulled up a chair next to her leg, needle in hand.
'So are you used to getting shot then? Invisible target and all?'
Zoe tried to keep focus on Simon's face. A boy's face, really. The face of someone far too young to be a life-saver. Then again she was younger still when she was first a life-taker.
'I don't know what would be worse. Wanting to get shot or getting used to it.'
Simon fell quiet for a moment. At first Zoe thought this was concentration, but then she noticed his mouth open and close hesitantly. Finally:
'So why do you do it.?'
Zoe paused to consider. 'Well… Someone has to keep an eye out for the Captain. Be the voice of reason when all the other voices in his head are getting too loud for him.'
Simon's eyebrow raised just for a faction of a fraction of a second. But Zoe had once pieced a man's eye from a cliff-top 300 yards away. She had a sharp eye for that sort of thing. The corners of her mouth turned.
'What was that about? And before you try and blow it off as nothing, know that I have broken man fingers for not giving me directions.' Simon chuckled. Zoe continued to stare. The chuckle drained away as Simon realised he wasn't a hundred percent certain she was joking. He coughed.
'It's just…' Simon licked his nervous lips. 'It's just the Captain… He puts you in danger constantly. You never seem to get paid for any of your suicide missions. You never have any downtime to spend with your husband, he worries about you constantly when you go out on a job and you worry about him worrying. And I've never seen the Captain thank you once, not once, for everything you do!'
Simon realised his voice had grown louder and raised as the sentence neared its end. Zoe's eyebrows had furrowed. He snipped off the last of the thread. 'I'm sorry. I know I'm out of line. You must have your reasons for your loyalty. Old War buddies and such. But… I just don't get it.'
I uneasy silence wrapped around them. Zoe rolled he head to the left.
Simon's eyebrows knotted. He didn't know whether he was grateful or annoyed by the change of subject. 'She's err… she's not well. I still haven't the faintest idea what they did to her at the Academy.'
'Has she said anything?'
'No. She still won't talk to me and, as much as I hate to admit it, her episodes are getting worse.' Zoe could hear the edge of a tremor in his voice. 'She becomes more and more erratic each day.'
'Probably doesn't help. Being out on the rim, the alliance always on our tail. Must be stressful.'
Simon gave an empty laugh. It certainly says something about your lifestyle when removing bullets is "an easy day."'
Zoe shuffled uncomfortably. 'So this kind of thing didn't happen that often back on Osiris, I'd gather.'
'No. Definitely not. On Osiris it was mainly old rich people with colds wanting to give you fistfuls of cash. If I'd stay there I could have been chief-of-medicine by now.'
'Must have been tough to give up all of that. Career. Money. Security. Family. Everything you've ever known.' Simon nodded. 'Has River ever said "thank you"?'
Simon's mind slowly tumbled into realisation. 'She doesn't need to. She's family.'
Zoe grinned. 'I think you get it just fine.'