This Way

He didn't plan to go down this way. Hell, he should have guessed it would be the way of it, but he hadn't been that receptive to the whole idea of dying. He preferred not to think about it.

Actually, that was a lie. He had thought about it. He had even told Inara that 'everybody dies alone'. He just hadn't believed it. Still couldn't wrap his mind around it.

The air was cold and biting. It took everything in him not to curse loudly into the empty hallway.

Of course this was how it had to end, him alone in his empty ship, the crew off in shuttles headed either for help or their own deathbeds, wherever that may be. It was only fitting.

He grabbed a blanket as he passed the infirmary and pulled it around his shoulders. The cold seeped through but the thick material staved it off a little before it did. It helped a little.

With any luck, one of the shuttles had reached somebody and gotten help. It may be too late for him but damned if he wouldn't stop hoping for his crew. They didn't deserve this. Not none of them.

He shivered. Another few minutes of stumbling around and he reached the bridge. The seat was far more comfortable than it should be. He could feel a numb sensation move throughout his body.

If this was the end – and he was certain it would be – well, it could be worse. The sky, dark, spread out before him. Serenity was still with him. His crew were safe. (It was more pleasant to lie to himself and believe that than to consider the alternative.) It was almost beautiful.

Then again, he wasn't sure he liked the idea of something so final holding such beauty. Life was supposed to be more beautiful than death. Of course he wasn't' quite convinced it was.

Thoughts of sleep soon filled his mind. To close his eyes for a few minutes and let everything flood over him: the cold and the weariness in him. It would be a relief.

His eyelids felt heavy and he could feel sleep pulling at him. He was about to give into the desire when a burst of static came across on the radio.

He glanced at it. Nothing. The screen was blank. Hope dying within him, he returned to thoughts of sleeping. Before he could though, there was more static and a flicker of movement in the corner of his eye.

Maybe it wasn't his end time after all.