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Survival of the Badass

Discussion in 'Pandora, Year 1 - 7' started by Hoban Washburne, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. [​IMG]

    Wash watched her register things, get a little more used to them. He guessed it might take time to get acclimated after such a physically traumatic event, which is why he had been reluctant to throw the Pandora story at her so soon. He’d had a concussion or two and remembered how confused he’d been after waking up. This wasn’t battle, it wasn’t war, there was no need for Zoë to immediately be completely coherent and they should damn well give her a chance to fully come to. Assuming that was all that was wrong, it annoyed him that Mal still pinched her.

    Still, his curiosity about her reaction to him was bubbling up, only overshadowed by his absolute rapture that she was here, but underlined with the fact that she had been injured. All in all, his stomach and his head were twirling.

    "I need a minute with my husband."

    Wash looked a little surprised and gave Mal a look that mixed with pleading and slight warning that if he didn’t leave, Wash would have to ask too. And he really did not want to do that. He hated friction with Mal but Zoë was the only reason he’d ever cause it. Thankfully, he didn’t have to and Mal walked out. Wash gave him a small smile.

    He approached her again, wanting to maul her with affectionate kisses and run his hands over he skin, but he gave her a worried smile instead, remembering her initial reaction and not wanting to overwhelm her, “You were injured in a fight with Reavers. Mal and I heard it over the horn and found you in a hospital, brought you to Serenity after you were released.” He told her, trying to give her some semblance of right side up, “How ya feeling? Need anything?” He asked, having no idea that she had thought him dead before now.

    @Malcolm Reynolds
    @Zoë Washburne
    Zoë Washburne likes this.
  2. Malcolm left without a word, despite any confusion he might feel. Zoë was grateful for that. The moment he was out of sight the mask of calm dissolved with a shaky exhale. Zoë sat up all the way, shifting her legs around to dangle off the side of the chair as Wash stepped closer. Her hands went to his chest, fingers spreading over his shirt and feeling no scars or bandages or any of the things that should have been there if he'd by some miracle been found and saved.

    "Baby, how..." the words caught in her throat and she struggled to get them out. Her palms smoothed up his chest and neck until her hands cradled his face, her dark eyes drinking in every detail of his features that she could. She still couldn't quite believe it, couldn't quite trust her senses because none of this made any gorram sense. "You were gone." Her gaze went to his, brown on blue, expression sharp and confused at the same time - the look of someone who knew she was lucid but couldn't believe what she was seeing. "Now I'm not questionin' this turn of fate, believe me," there was a tremor in her voice on the last phrase and she stroked her thumbs across his cheekbones to emphasize it. "But how? I never would have left you if I'd known-" Her words were cut off as she was struck with a sudden, overwhelming surge of guilt and horror. Had he been alive when they'd moved on? Had she left him there alone and hurting and afraid?

    Zoë didn't doubt herself often. She was a confident, self-assured woman who knew and trusted her own abilities. But this was all making her feel more than a little kwong-juh duh. She couldn't tell if her head was swimming from the remaining effects of blood loss or the impossible situation she'd woken up to. Zoë didn't believe in miracles, but she couldn't deny the one standing right in front of her.

    kwong-juh duh - 'crazy'
    Hoban Washburne likes this.
  3. [​IMG]

    Wash almost insisted that she not get up but thankfully she stayed seated at least. His hands came out helpfully on either side to steady her if something went wrong or she lost balance, "Careful, you've lost a lot of blood." He told her but she looked so shocked and haunted he didn't have the heart to force her back down. Whatever was on her mind, she needed to get it out.

    Wash's hand was on hers when she rested them on his face. "You were gone."

    "I'm not going anywhere." He assured her, still unsure of why his presence had her so mystified...until it hit him like a horse kicking him in the head. Gone? Pandora had fluid space and time. He and Mal hadn't come from the same time in their shared history and it suddenly occurred to him that maybe Zoë had come from further down the line. Where she knew something he didn't. Something bad. Her next words only confirmed this nauseating thought. "But how? I never would have left you if I'd known-"

    "Wǒ de mā." Wash said, almost inaudible, but his mind snapped back quickly. Whatever happened, she was obviously feeling badly for it and he couldn't allow that, "Hey." He took both her hands in his, reassuringly, "You didn't leave me, Zoe." He winced, dreading the explanation, "Look, we're in this weird place, all brought here...Do you remember vines?" He sat next to her and explained Pandora as best he could. Time, space, weird bullshit, "I know it sounds nuts but it's the truth. And it's different for everyone. Mal has no idea what I'm talking about when I say we went to Miranda and found out about the chemical experiment. I feel like we were brought here at different points in our lives, as far as we can tell, mine is beyond his." He was terrified to ask how far hers went. Instead he talked about something happier, "I've uh, been waiting for three months for you to come along." He took the hand closest to his and held it to his chest, "It's pretty safe to say I missed you." He dipped his head down to kiss her fingers, "Though, you could have chosen a safer way to arrive." He teased.

    @Malcolm Reynolds
    @Zoë Washburne

    Wǒ de mā - My God
    Zoë Washburne likes this.
  4. What he was saying wasn't making a whole lot of sense, but this was Wash. She knew he wouldn't lie about something like this. He didn't seem to have any idea what she was talking about. He knew about Miranda but he didn't remember being impaled through the chest by a harpoon? She looked down at the place where he held her hand against himself, her free hand dropping to press over his heart. She could feel it beating, could feel the rise and fall of his breaths and the vibration of his voice when he spoke.

    If he didn't remember dying, she wasn't about to try to make him. Instead she did her best to push it from her mind and focus on the fact that they were here - wherever here was - together. His teasing words were met with a quick twitch of the lips, though she didn't have it in her to smile just yet. She leaned against him when he sat, letting her head rest on his shoulder, her fingers tightening around his.

    "I missed you, too," she murmured. She closed her eyes and allowed herself a moment to just take it all in. She was surprised to find that the grief was still there - raw and fresh, but overshadowed by her greater joy at waking up to find him alive. It was a curiously bittersweet moment. The ache in her chest felt like it had settled deep, as if it wouldn't be fading any time soon. She'd watched him die. She couldn't just forget that.

    "Three months?" Zoë asked suddenly, straightening so she could look over at him. Her fingers remained tightly wound in his, as if she didn't plan on letting go anytime soon. "That don't make sense. I saw you..." The sound of glass broken by a sharp projectile, the thud of a spear punching through flesh and bone. Blue eyes once warm, now lifeless. "It hasn't been but a day." She shook her head as if to push her confusion aside. Whatever backwards place she'd been brought to, she wasn't about to question it. Not when it'd given her husband back.

    "The others here, too?" She glanced up toward the windows of the infirmary, as if expecting to see Kaylee standing out there, waiting to see that Zoë was okay. It was a sight she'd awoken to on more than one occasion, and once Zoë'd even been the one sitting at Kaylee's side while she healed. As alien as the situation was, it was all familiar, too. Serenity was home, the people on it as much family as crew.
  5. [​IMG]

    When she leaned against him it was like the flood gates had opened. Her doubts had faded enough, though he still was wary as to the exact nature of them. He tilted his head down to rest on hers gently, not putting a lot of pressure knowing she was still hurt despite her insistence on sitting up. Reaching his other hand around, the one not occupied with the very important job of holding hers, he placed it on her cheek, stroking the soft skin with his thumb. "I missed you, too.” If she knew just how much those words had nearly caused him to cry, the soldier might ask for a divorce.

    "Three months?"

    “Yeah, the whole time-space thing. I guess when we come here, the people around us don’t notice, like we’re two places at once and I can get here and someone can follow anytime later even if it's just a few minutes apart. I really don’t know a lot about it, just that we’re stuck here.”

    "The others here, too?"

    “Just Mal and me.” He scoffed out a laugh, “I guess Mal has been here twice, met some of the same folks I did when I got here.” She would have handled getting here and being alone better than he did, he knew that to be true.

    He turned to face her, cradling her face in both his hands, “Xièxiè shén suí nǐ cóng yīgè gāodù shìqíng.” He kissed her forehead, trailed down to brush his lips against her eyelid before landing on her lips. His eyes might have just been a bit watery when he pulled away, “You need to rest, wǒ de ài. I’ll be right here, okay? Are you hungry?”

    @Zoë Washburne

    Xièxiè shén suí nǐ cóng yīgè gāodù shìqíng – Thank the higher powers of whatever from high atop the thing
    Wǒ de ài – My love
    #25 Hoban Washburne, Jan 23, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2018
    Zoë Washburne likes this.
  6. Zoë tried to wrap her mind around Serenity without Kaylee and found that she couldn't. Everything about it felt wrong. Who'd keep Serenity running? The Captain sure as hell wouldn't. Whatever Zoë might have said about it died in her throat when Wash took her face in his hands and leaned in to kiss her forehead. His very Wash-like expression of relief earned a real smile this time. She closed her eyes as his lips trailed lower and eventually found hers. As wrong as the rest of it felt, this was right, and Zoë could almost forget that everything else had happened.


    'You need to rest, wǒ de ài...'

    Her eyes popped back open and she sat up straighter, turning to face forward and squaring her shoulders as he went on to ask if she was hungry. "Starving," she replied, even though she wasn't. In fact, the thought of food made her stomach roil with nausea, but Zoë knew she needed to eat to regain her strength. "And I ain't gonna sit in this gorram chair another second longer," she added. She shot Wash a meaningful look - I don't need coddlin' - then carefully eased her weight forward and set her feet on the floor. Zoë was a stubborn woman but she wasn't stupid - she knew to take it slow at first. She kept her hands braced against the chair just until she was sure she wasn't going to pass out or fall over. There wasn't any pain in her back, which was a pleasant surprise. Whatever medicine they'd given her at that clinic seemed to have worked nothing short of a miracle (Zoë had conveniently repressed the fact that the lance-wielding woman had magically healed her).

    She started toward the door, intent on making it to the galley without help. She felt light and dizzy but it wasn't so bad she couldn't walk on her own. One step at a time. Zoë knew that Wash probably wanted nothing more than to take care of her the way husbands did, and while she was grateful for it - now more than ever, maybe - she didn't want to stay in the infirmary one second longer than she had to.

    "Three months, huh?" she started suddenly, flashing a suspicious look toward her husband. The next line was delivered with typical deadpan humor. Anyone who didn't know her might think she was being serious, because she didn't so much as crack a smile. "There some jien huo in our bunk I need to shoot?"

    jien huo - "cheap floozy"
  7. [​IMG]

    "Starving. And I ain't gonna sit in this gorram chair another second longer."

    Oh no, she was in that mood. He stood with her, knowing damn well not to coddle or insist when she was like this. She wanted to walk on her own two feet and if someone insisted she didn't, it would only make her want run on her own two feet, or do some flips or pick a fight. So, he'd have to let her walk and not make things worse.

    "Fèifèi de húndàn de érzi." He mumbled under his breath before following her, making it clear he was there but wouldn't touch her or help her unless she asked but was unhappy with her choice, "Gùzhí de nǚrén." This time he said it loud enough for her to hear, but it was full of affection.

    "Three months, huh?" This snapped his attention from monitoring her less than mobile body to her face. There was almost never any indication whether Zoë was going to tell a joke or tell him she was dying so her next words came as a surprise. Mostly because, if there had been any hope whatsoever, Wash would have kept waiting for her until his dying breath, "Ah, well, not anymore, I kicked her out while you were unconscious." He shot back, guessing that she was joking. She knew he had been waiting and would have kept on waiting, "I can call her back though if you're going to be too long in healing." He added, his own voice not quite as straight as hers but he did deliver a good dry joke.

    Following her to the galley, he let out a breath he was holding when she finally reached one of the chairs, "I uh, made some bao earlier, they were pretty good. Want that?"

    @Zoë Washburne

    Fèifèi de húndàn de érzi - bastard son of a baboon's asshole
    Gùzhí de nǚrén - Stubborn woman
    Zoë Washburne likes this.

  8. [​IMG]
    Mal had gone back to his quarters to give them a moment alone together and that was where he saw the PAD left on his stand for him. It was from Ashoka, sitting down he read it over quickly seeing she was taking off and without pause Mal threw the note down on his bed before climbing the ladder up from his quarters and dashing into the engine room seeing if he could catch her before she took off, ask her to stay, say he would hang around and wait as long as she needed but it was too late, she was already gone. Mal stepped into the engine room looking it over and resting his hand on the wall, almost softly stroking the ship to tell her it would be okay. In the back of his mind he could hear Kaylee and her chipper tone of voice ask if something was the matter and without even thinking he spoke up to no one. "It's fine Kaylee." Mal paused a moment and looked up realizing Kaylee wasn't even here.

    Was it him? Was it something he said? First Inara, now Ashoka, he was starting to like the alien too. Thought she was pretty cool, reminded him of mei mei a little. Pulling his hand from the ship he looked around the engine room again, his eyes fixed on the hammock Kaylee use to sit in when she was just listening to Serenity hum. "We'll get through this, we always do. I trust you, you've always looked out for us and I've always looked out for you." He spoke to the ship, something Mal did when nobody was around just in case they thought the captain was a little more off his rocker than they though. "Good luck out there kid, I'll see you out there, maybe." He spoke of Ashoka before walking back out out of the engine room. It was going to be hell holding he crew, his family together here in Pandora but Mal had to do it. He couldn't let them all split up now that they had found each other and they were in for a new mechanic.

    Heading over to the kitchen Mal grabbed the tea he had brewed this morning and poured it into a cup before sitting down at the table. Leaning back in his chair as he sipped at it thinking back on the old days, everyone sitting around the table for dinner, trading stories, laughing. Now it was quiet. No Jayne sitting off to the side cleaning his guns, no Kaylee laughing with Inara, No Simon trying to get River under control as she threw a tantrum. No Preacher bringing up God even if Mal hated to hear about his faith. He'd have done anything to have them all back again, he'd have given anything to have had them all come over with him. Mal sat up when Wash and Zoë walked in, his voice sounding a little lower than usual. "Ashoka's left, said she had business to attend to, going to need a new mechanic." Things would have been so much easier if they just had Kaylee here, she wouldn't have left, not Serenity.

  9. Wash's snark earned him an arched brow, and a dry retort sprang to her mind - something about reminding him that she could kill him with her little finger. The words died in her throat, though, and instead she just reached out to silently take his hand, squeezing his fingers in hers. The memory of his death - and the despair it had brought - was still fresh in Zoë's mind. It was hard to feel anything but grateful that he was alive.

    "Sounds delicious," Zoë replied, flashing a quick smile even as she swallowed down a wave of nausea. Food meant strength, and she wasn't gonna let herself feel like this any longer than necessary. She lowered herself into the chair across from Mal, raising her eyebrows at what he said. "You sure Kaylee ain't on this rock somewhere? We're here." It didn't seem like such a stretch, not after this place had brought her husband back from the dead.

    Zoë's eyes darted toward Wash, just a quick glance to reassure herself that he was still there. Her attention returned to Mal and she settled into her seat, one arm resting on the table in front of her. In that moment she could almost pretend everything was normal. How often had they sat in the galley just like this? Except it wasn't normal. Nothing about this gorram planet was.
  10. [​IMG]

    "Ashoka's left, said she had business to attend to, going to need a new mechanic."

    Wash gave Mal a sorry look but was more preoccupied with his wife. When she took his hand rather than continuing their banter, he paused, his eyebrows drawing together and his face filled with sentiment. His mouth turned into a soft smile and he leaned down and brushed a warm kiss to her cheek. Wash could sense her as easily as if it was written on her face, "Want some soup instead?" He asked softly, pulling back.

    "You sure Kaylee ain't on this rock somewhere? We're here."

    "No, actually. She could be, we really never know, just gotta keep our eyes open." He shrugged starting his work in the kitchen, pouring and serving her a glass of water before going back and starting on food, "I suppose we could put up wanted posters for Kaylee and Simon, but not Jayne really." He joked.

    "The crew is very slim though, we have no jobs, no doctor, and now no mechanic." He smirked up at them from his work, "But, we have us." He tried, knowing it wasn't the same, it wasn't home. Even though the 'Verse persecuted them and gave them all sorts of hell, they didn't know how to operate here. Still, Wash couldn't feel regretful with Zoë sitting across the way.

    @Zoë Washburne

  11. [​IMG]
    "Could be, then again maybe not, I don't rightfully know." He sipped his tea looking back to the empty spot where Kaylee and Inara would sometimes talk and braid each others hair. Mal missed that, he missed walking into her shuttle to bother her. Ask her if she could braid his hair too. "Posters might work, we have some photo's of them laying around here from old stills on planet sides here and there. Could go picking through them. Got Simmons wanted poster, if Simons here good chance is River be with him, Kaylee I'm sure we could dig one up from her room, Jayne." Mal raise a brow and looked at Wash as if to say 'yes nobody likes him but we still need him'. "He's got that stupid picture after he got his gorram hat. He might be a pain but we still need him on the crew."

    Jayne was impressive with a firearm and great in a fight. Man hit like a brick house and he might have said something along the lines of being able to shoot the pecker off a fly at nine yards or something like that. Plus he had some of the best guns, well, technically they had some of the best guns since Jayne's weapons were stashed here on Serenity. "And Inara..." Mal was getting ahead of himself, what did they need Inara for? Out here what good would she do for them? No, Mal had just said her name because he wanted her here, they didn't need her but he needed her. Silly thought, he didn't need her, he was doing just fine without her. "That's right." Mal picked up where Wash left off even if Wash was talking about being with his wife again rather than at least this tiny fragment of the crew was together.

    "We got us, we got Serenity, we got a leg to stand on. Might only be working with a skeleton crew but we can still fly and we can get jobs easy enough. Even if we don't find the others we start bringing in money we can hire a new crew to keep us going. That's all we got right now, just keep going." They had to make due, Mal didn't like it either, he's trade anyone he could hire here in Pandora for his real crew. "That also means we are stuck doing two man jobs without Jayne and without Kaylee we best start figuring out how to patch Serenity up should we meet some trouble with her. She's sitting pretty now but that ain't always so. She's been known to shake us up before."

  12. She gave Wash a grateful smile when he offered soup instead, and reached up to briefly stroke her fingers down his cheek as he pulled away. It was the kind of casual display of affection they'd always shared, but in this moment Zoë was keenly aware of it and of the fact that she'd come so close to never being able to touch him again. She watched Wash head back behind the counter and for a very brief moment there was a frown on her face, the kind of frown she had when she was feeling more than she was letting on. It smoothed away almost as quickly as it'd come as she forced her focus to the Captain.

    Zoë suspected she wasn't the only one repressing the true extent of her feelings. She knew Mal better than anyone except for her own husband, and she suspected that the loss of Kaylee and Jayne and even Simon and River was weighing more heavily on him than he was letting on. He was putting a positive face on it, building off of Wash's words and talking about making do, sticking together. The ex-soldier found herself nodding in agreement, reaching out to take a sip of the water that Wash had brought to her.

    "The job's'll come," she agreed, but Mal was already going on about how they'd need to find another mechanic. "That should be our first priority," she said, expression serious. She was happy to focus on business, gave her an anchor. "Might be we can find someone in that town I first came into -- what's it called? They seemed grateful enough for the help with the Reavers. If they don't have anyone, they might know someone." That's what it all came down to, wasn't it? People. Connections. Friends. Family. They'd lost most of their friends back in their part of the 'verse. Some family, too. Her eyes flicked toward Wash again, hand tightening almost convulsively around her water glass though her expression didn't change.
  13. [​IMG]

    "...if Simon's here good chance is River be with him."

    Wash doubted it but didn't say. After all, if connection meant anything, it would have meant he arrive here with Zoë.

    "And Inara..."

    Wash was thinking Mal was getting ahead of himself, "I don't think this place works like that, not everyone follows." He hated to be a downer but they all needed a realistic idea of what to expect here. Despite his hope, (now realized) he never expected to see Zoë again. Not really.

    "...we can hire a new crew to keep us going."

    Wash just nodded, not really interested in that conversation right now, "Horizon, wasn't it?" He said, answering her question, "Not a bad idea. Zoë here is a hero of a town twenty minutes after arrival and all I've done is make an armed ship captain wary."

    "He was very wary though, he saw in me a killer, ready for...killing." He said dramatically, trying to cheer them both after the morose conversation about missing crew members, "He knows a dangerous man when he meets one." He boasted.

    "In any case, they might be able to hook us up with some work, I made friends while you two ditched me here." He teased.

    @Zoë Washburne
    @Malcolm Reynolds

  14. [​IMG]
    "Horizon." Mal spoke up, he was trying to make himself familiar with it all, got this thing called Starknet jimmy rigged access like the big global networks they ran off the central planets. Mal had to ask a lot of his crew lately to let their more advanced tech line up with and contact the lower levels of tech here on Pandora. Not that it was all go shi, it was just really outdated. Funny since Serenity was considered an outdated piece of junk. "Right, this little town has to have at least one decent enough mechanic right? They got vehicles." Mal paused and thought on that before looking over to Wash. "They got vehicles right?" Mal paused again squinting his eyes and trying to picture if they actually had anything. "Saw a bunch of funny looking birds and all."

    He really hadn't been paying too much attention to it if he was honest, had had been too worried about Zoe to get a good look of the place. "What you going makin me weary for?" Mal asked looking around before he realized Wash wasn't talking about him. "Oh, another Captain." That was right, Wash had been on another ship before Mal had showed up. Mal knew it was likely they would never see the rest of the crew again, Mal had to live with it. He didn't want to but he had to. Where the hell was he before he had met any of them anyways? He had Zoe, that was what mattered most. Anyone else could just be replaced, at least Mal told himself this when he got into a fight with one of them. It made it easier for him to say it to himself every now and again as if one day when they died or he had to boot them or they left it would make it so much easier but it didn't.

    Mal looked back at Wash, whoever this captain was he must have had some awful eyesight. "You sure there wasn't someone else standing behind you?" Mal asked partiall joking but also kind of being honest. Who looked at Wash and got weary? Maybe annoyed, yeah Mal could see that but weary? What was Wash going to do? Throw a plastic dinosaur at you? That captain probably hadn't see Wash handle a gun before though. "Or he's as jumpy as an unbroke colt new on his legs." Mal had to point something out. "Hey now, I didn't ditch you, I brought Serenity down on a forest, alone....Wash. Who was flying my damn ship?" He asked teasingly. "Apparently your T-Rex. Man takes a short break in his bunk and he comes back out to calamity, and firewood." He pointed to Zoe. "You know I had established a very successful lumber company by the time this knucklehead showed up. Mal's Got Wood, kinda catchy don't you think?"