Speed of Choices, The (part three)

by dirty diana

The Speed of Choices (Three)
by dirty diana
rated PG-13
no warnings, no spoilers
Disclaimer: I didn't invent these characters. Obviously. Notes: Sequel to The Speed of Choices, parts one and two. Kisses and chocolate to sffan for the beta.

They all found a moment to corner him, starting with Book who gave him a slightly battered bible, and Jayne who wanted to know if Simon was leaving behind anything that he didn't have any use for. Inara simply slipped her arms around him in a comforting hug. Kaylee said that she wasn't going to cry, but then she did, and Simon didn't know what to say. Wash and Zoe approached him they way that they approached everything else. Together.

"You shouldn't let him chase you off," Wash says from the pilot's chair.

Simon mouth tightens, insulted. "He's not. I'm not."

Zoe raises her eyebrows, the only change of expression on a beautiful face. She's heard things, but the things that she has heard don't make much sense. "Jayne?"

Simon wants to laugh, but finds that he can't. "Jayne is not scaring me away. It's just...it's time for me to go."

Zoe looks at him a moment, like she's deciding whether to believe him. Finally she says, "come down to my bunk. I'll give you something."

'Something' turns out to be a pistol, pulled out of a locked box underneath her bed. Simon shakes his head. "No, I couldn't take..."

"You've stitched me up enough times to earn it," Zoe answers, and that's that.

"I don't know how much good it's going to do me," Simon says, as he holds the steel hesitantly in his palm, cold and lighter than he'd expected. "I don't know how to use it."

"I reckon you're a fast learner," Zoe says. And then she adds, as if they've been talking about it all along, "he ain't going to ask you to stay, you know."

Simon licks his lips. "I know. It wouldn't matter if he did."

She nods. "Good. Cause he ain't going to."

They land on Beaumonde at 14:27 local time, in the middle of an afternoon rainstorm. River has been drugged into a semi-vapid state, which Simon feels guilty about. But he can't deal with her fits, not right now.

At the mouth of the cargo bay, the crew stands silent, watching them leave.

Mal isn't there.


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