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If you haven't read the warning on the index page, go back and read
it. If you don't, and you don't like what you find here, don't
come crying to me.
Author: Eleanor K.
Spoilers: for vol. 3, chapters 18 and 20 of the manga and for the
anime episode Paradise.
Disclaimer: Not mine, not making any money. In case anyone cares,
both the Bible quotes are taken from the King James version.
Warnings: Mention of canon child abuse.
Notes: This is based on the manga with the exception of Wolfwood's
past because I haven't read enough of the manga to know if they even
mention Wolfwood's past in it. Damn, I wish I could read Japanese.
Today Juneora Rock bakes silently under the two suns. You can smell
the heat in the air, see it rising in waves off the rocks, taste it
as your tongue dries to scales with every breath you take. The city
is deserted. I have seen no one since dawn.
On the ground a few feet away I spot a scrap of red and pounce on
it before the wind can steal it from me. A piece of his coat. I've
been picking them up all morning. It seems wrong to let them lie in
Vash the Stampede. A man I've barely met, a man who saved my life
when I was ready to give up and let the desert take me at last. And
now the desert has taken him, and all I can find are these blood-colored
fragments. And, the weight at my back reminds me, one other fragment.
I don't have a holster big enough, so his gun rides tucked into my
waistband, a constant presence. It's a massive thing. I fired it once,
just to know how it felt. The kickback nearly knocked me off my feet.
I stared at it afterwards, cradling it in hands that seemed suddenly
much too small.
I remembered holding another gun, that first gun, with arms that shook,
not from fear, but from the sheer weight of it pulling on a child's
frail muscles. I remembered the way the metal was cold under my hands
and how it soothed me. I remembered the roar it made when I killed
him. It seemed to encompass the world.
The day is locked in my mind, its sequence of events spread out one
after another like a trail to follow back to my childhood, but it
leads to a dead end. Before that day, I remember almost nothing. Pictures
crop up now and then, usually when I have no time to examine them.
There is only one clear memory before that day.
It is the night before, and I am praying. I kneel by the edge of my
bed and my arms stretch up so I can rest my elbows on the mattress.
I am praying, not to God, but to my angel. He is a child's vision
of an angel, golden hair and blue eyes, white-feathered wings and
Even at seven, I know he doesn't exist, but more than anything else
in the world I want him to exist. I pray with my eyes squinched tight
shut and my hands squeezed together hard, as if I can bring him into
being by a physical effort.
I want someone to save me.
In the morning, as I hear heavy footsteps coming for me yet again,
I will decide to save myself, but my angel's face will never leave
Dawn woke me this morning, and I looked down from the spire of stone
where I'd spent the night to see the last few inhabitants fleeing
the city. They were specks from so high up, but they trailed their
early-morning shadows after them like unwound shrouds.
When I turned back from the edge, not five feet from where I stood
I saw a light coming from a crack in the rock. An hour later, a change
in the angle of the suns, and I might never have found it. I had to
lay flat down and stretch my arm as far as I could before the tips
of my fingers touched it. It was lodged upside down, and I could just
slip one finger inside the trigger guard and bring it up.
No bus will come here now, but I found a motorcycle abandoned a few
hundred yarz out in the desert. A few hours work is all it needs.
Then I'll find him, and give him back his gun. Because I don't know
what else to do.
What I saw last night is fading from my mind already. I can't seem
to contain the images or connect them with reality. If not for the
devastation around me, I would believe it was a dream. Still, if I
can't remember clearly, neither can I quite forget.
The day after I murdered my guardian hangs on in the same way. Disconnected,
improbable events, strung together one after another. I don't know
why I went to the church, nor do I remember walking there. I see the
scene as a snapshot from outside my body. My head is bent as I kneel
before the altar, and Chapel is standing off to one side, watching
me. He leads me to the confession box, and my fate is sealed.
That feeling of one path taken and another forsaken forever is one
I have learned to recognize since that day. I felt it yesterday when
the bus pulled up, though I didn't know why, and I feel it more strongly
Chapel taught me to read, and the Bible was my first book. In Genesis,
chapter 3, verse 26, it says, "So he drove out the man: and he placed
at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim, and a flaming sword which
turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."
After I read that passage, I asked Chapel what the cherubim were.
He told me they were angels, warriors in God's Host. I remember combing
the Bible the next day to see what happened to that angel with his
sword of fire. Chapel left me alone, glad to see me reading by my
own choice for once.
His Bible smelled like old paper and dust, and the corners of the
pages were grimed from the touch of a thousand fingers. By the end
of the day, my hands smelled of old paper too, and the drag of my
finger across the pages as I struggled with the words had left that
fingertip dark with ink. Angels danced behind my eyes.
Angelos... the word means messenger in some long forgotten language.
They were God's messengers, speaking with His voice, enforcing His
will, punishing His enemies. God's messengers were truly warriors,
and God's messages were steeped in pain and death.
That night I dreamed of my angel. His face was the same, but his wings
were stained with rust-colored blood, old and soaked into the feathers
until it seemed almost their natural color. He seemed more beautiful
to me than ever.
I turned to him more and more after that. There was no one else to
turn to. I remember nights spent with my head under the blankets,
talking to him in whispers until I half believed he was real. I wanted
so badly to believe.
Chapel wasn't cruel, but it was not an easy life. And he never pretended
to care for me.
I was sixteen when I found another passage, one I had passed over
many times before.
Genesis, chapter 6, verse 2: "...The sons of God saw the daughters
of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which
Angels, taking humans to their beds, right there in the Bible.
In my dreams that night, my angel carried me away on his sullied wings,
but when he set me down his fingers raised my face to his, and he
kissed me beside a cool stream, with leaves falling around us onto
the damp grass.
It wasn't a long step from that to jerking off with his face in my
mind. He'd been with me ever since I could remember, and I was half
in love with him by then. Or maybe more than half.
Years passed, and I thought of other things. I put him aside like
a childhood toy, but I never forgot him.
His face came back to me yesterday in the desert, clear as a waking
dream. The suns blistered my skin and pounded on my head as I whispered
through cracked lips, praying as hard as I had that night when I was
seven. When I became conscious of what I was saying, I realized I
was begging him to come for my soul when I died.
Rescue was the last thing on my mind. I thought it was another hallucination
until I tasted the water. Then the girls pointed me toward the back
of the bus.
He was looking at me out of the corner of his eye, with one spike
of hair drooping down across his face. The coat was blood red; his
hair was the perfect gold of my dreams, and his face...
It was my angel's face, exactly as I had imagined it. As if I had
seen that face somewhere when I was very young and it had stayed with
me through all those years. I knew it was impossible, I even knew
who this man had to be, and still it was all I could do to cover my
Vash the Stampede, outlaw gunman, humanoid typhoon, destroyer of Lost
July. I saw the strength and compassion in his face, and I wanted...
oh, God, I wanted.
But it was, had to be, coincidence. So I told myself. Until Juneora
Rock, when I saw his wings.
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