Author's Note; I don't really like this, but it's been sitting around for ages, and I've edited it to the best of my ability. Set after BDM.

Anything you recognize, I don't own.


For a little while, it's easy.

Easier than she ever thought, easier then she's quite comfortable with. Shouldn't losing your husband

the love of your life

be harder, more painful, more heartbreaking? And so she fought and she killed, weighed down with dread and guilt and fear and some strange kind of surrealism.

It doesn't occur to her that maybe the pain isn't here yet because she's still fighting for her life.

And they were safe, everyone but him and suddenly she knows the pain is here, even though she doesn't recognize it because it's not like the pain she knows. They don't think she does, but she does, oh God, does she hear them whispering about how she's never known this kind of pain, and can she handle it? And she doesn't know that she can. She spends what feels like millenniums in this state, solid, knowledgeable grief. Too sane for her own good.

And now that the pain is here, she knows what she's lost.

She knows that she's got nothing to lose, now, and she never used to understand how that was a bad thing before but she does now. She spends endless hours in his seat, staring at the black and understanding Reavers or touring the ship time and time again, touching every spot he did and the others have learned not to say anything when they catch her curled against a certain spot of the floor because it doesn't matter – she doesn't talk anymore, anyway.

And she forgets why she came here, forgets what it means but it still hurts.

And then she speaks. He catches her, the one that she vaguely remembers she used to call 'Sir' and she's forgotten his name, it's been so long, it's been years, but it doesn't really matter anyway. Nothing really matters. But nonetheless he catches her in the cockpit, in his cockpit, and she would have cried if she could have but she can't; there's nothing left to cry, so she tips back her chin and she fingers the radio that he's touched so often and she says, "Is it autumn, yet?"

Sometimes she feels him touching her. Never sees, she can't see anything anymore, but she can feel it. And he, the man without the name, jumps at the chance, says whatever occurs to him, trying to get her to speak again. But she waits until he is finally silent and sighs. "Is it autumn, yet?" and then she walks from the room, although she feels as if she's crawling

She feels like she's surfacing from deep underwater as she drifts into insanity.

She doesn't sleep anymore, or if she does, she doesn't remember it, but she still dreams. She'd rather sleep then dream – and she substitutes sleep for death because death is such a sweet relief, she would be with him again and sleep has become a weak, cowardly, thing because the dreams are worse than life itself, hopeful and assuming makes death so easy.

She thought she had nothing to lose, but she did, months and months and years ago, she still had control, at least.

And control is a glorious thing to lose, she finds, better then life, but worse then happiness. And suddenly she is the young one – and it doesn't surprise her that she's forgotten the girl's name - but she finds that she knows a lot more and is surprised a lot less than she used to be – the young one all over again. She sings and she kills and she talks and talks and talks again until her voice goes hoarse and she can talk no more, but all she ever says is, "Will we ever get there?" and that's all she sings, too. And somewhere, deep in that tiny corner of her heart that remains sane (because her mind is long gone) she knows she's dead when she finally says, "I'm a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar," and even that bit of her crumbles away, now, too, but not before she wonders what it means, because it didn't make sense at the time, either, and he never got the chance to tell her.

The day she dies will be the day she lives again.

And she knows this to be true, more solidly then she knows her own name – but then again, she forgot that a long time ago, too. Perhaps more solidly then she knows his name, but she's banned it from her mind, though it seems him, his name, what happened, the good times, the bad times, all the times she wronged him, how much she loved him, and those tiny, niggling fears she believes every woman reserves that he doesn't love her have exploded wildly out of proportion and that's the one thing she can't forget. But there are no saints among these petty thieves and whores and fugitives, not with him gone, and they keep bringing her back, time and time again, whispering of recovery they know is impossible.

So who do you turn to but yourself when those who you love have died and those who you trust will not kill you?

She doesn't talk anymore. Doesn't eat, and she can feel herself wasting away, even though she doesn't get hungry anymore. They've stopped trying to oust her from his chair, stopped trying to hire a new pilot, and one of them has learned how to fly, bent double at an awkward angle around her. They stop whispering about her on the walk-ways, because they're all whispered out, because it's become old news, he died so many decades ago, just like she'd finally become all cried out so long ago, and she doesn't think anymore, either, except to wonder why it didn't occur to her to stop functioning altogether a long, long time ago, and this is her only blessing.

Time heals even the deepest of wounds, and where it cannot heal, it erases.

One by one, she forgets. His face, his smile, his laugh, the good times, the bad times, the jokes, his one-liners, his shirts, even his name. The last thing to go is the way he used to look at her. His eyes, that de-boning stare haunted her sleepless dreams for as long as she can remember

Since the funeral, they had never gone to visit his grave, fearing it would make her worse, but when she dies, they bury her right next to him and don't mark her grave, because the first thing she forgot was her name and they don't feel it would be right.

---Cayenne