Disclaimer: Firefly, Serenity and their characters are the sole property of (the genius that is) Joss Whedon, and (his) Mutant Enemy, Fox, (the shiny people at) Universal Pictures, Jesus, Buddha, the Festivus Pole and whomever else they belong to. Sadly, they are not mine. No copyright infringement is intended or implied. I am not profiting monetarily from my endeavors and only write as a sign of my deep love and devotion to the show. Alas, I am only a lowly Browncoat that likes to play in their 'verse.

Additionally, I apologize in advance for any accidental mistakes and/or any misuse of the Chinese language, and claim sole responsibility for said mistakes and misuse. No disrespect is intended.

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Lěng Qīng Qīng

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Translations:

fèn nù angry/indignant

fēng pō crazy

gǒu pì bullshit/nonsense

huǒ kēng pit of fire/living hell

lěng qīng qīng deserted/lonely/in quiet isolation

pí fá tired/weary

qí cái genius

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Post BDM

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The girl don't have fēng pō fits, not no more, not since Miranda. She just gets real quiet sometimes. Doc still frets somethin' awful when she does, jawin' more than usual, throwin' out words like "depression" and "withdrawal" and other gǒu pì. That boy's got a knack for makin' things harder an' more complicated than they gotta be, which is probably why he spends so many nights sleepin' alone in the Infirmary and so many days 'pologizin' to Kaylee.

Well, the boy's jawin' then makes Mal all kinds of twitchy an' irritable an' he ends up sayin' all manner o' stupid to Inara. Well, more manner o' stupid than usual. Now, I ain't no qí cái, but even I know there's things ya don't say to your woman. Them two idiots don't got the sense the good Lord gave a goose. An' I gotta trust one of 'em to lead us an' the other one to fix us up when the first idiot's plans go pear-shaped. It's a wonder the lot of us ain't got dead yet.

Anyways, so the girl gets her quiet days, where she don't talk to nobody an' kinda keeps to herself an' the Doc hovers about her somethin' awful. But even that ain't nearly as bad as it used to be. Figure Kaylee's been workin' on 'im 'bout that. She's got her work cut out for her with that boy, if you ask me, but, who knows? She may just get 'im fixed up shiny like she does to Serenity.

Maybe.

One Day.

Far in the future.

Probably.

Today's one of them quiet days an' I can see Doc's itchin' to run his tests an' poke an' prod at 'er, like that's gonna fix a gorram thing. But he don't say nothin', just watches her glide through the kitchen durin' breakfast on her way to the bridge. An' he's got that "fretful" face he wears when she's like this. I think the girl'd like to lock herself in there, but Mal's been real clear 'bout that door always stayin' open "for emergencies and such". Guess that's his way of frettin' 'bout her. He's real protective of his li'l Albatross.

I figure she must get awful pí fá of all the worryin' people do 'bout her. It's gotta be too much sometimes, since she can't really help but feel it, since she can't block it out as well as she should.

It's gotta hurt her.

An' it makes me fèn nù at these idiots.

They're doin' it right now!

Talk'd been 'bout the job we got comin' up 'til she came on by, now it's all 'bout her. Wonder if she hates that as much as I do? They need to just leave 'er the hell alone! Talkin' an' whisperin' 'bout her like she ain't but fifty feet away, like she can't hear 'em with her ears or with 'er brain, like she don't got 'nough talkin' an' whisperin' in her head already.

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She ain't at lunch an' the whole ship's buzzin' with it. Ain't they got nothin' better to go on 'bout? We got that job that'll probably end badly, with Mal shot an' a "surprise" double cross, but, nope. It's all 'bout the girl.

They think they're so gorram smart, but them idiots can't see what's right in front o' them. The girl's in one of her quiet days an' they can't talk 'bout it fast enough. But Zoe's in one of her quiet days too, an' no one bats an eye. Yeah, Zoe's always been kinda quiet, but since Wash's been gone, it's a different kinda quiet. Like maybe somethin' hurts so bad deep inside that the only way to keep it from screamin' its way outta you is to keep your mouth shut tight to keep it bottled up. But you don't see no one getting' all worked up an' botherin' her none. 'sides me, she's the only one that don't never say nothin' 'bout the girl.

Them two, them warrior women, they're entitled to their quiet time. They've earned it. Both of 'em got a lot of pain an' sufferin' they gotta deal with. They both got a raw deal. Well, there probably ain't nobody in the 'verse that got a rawer deal than the girl. Zoe's just dealin' with Wash dyin', the girl's gotta deal with a whole gorram planet dyin', plus what they did to her in that...huǒ kēng. I ain't never callin' it no school. I never did like school none an' left as soon as I was big 'nough to tote a welder's torch, but Mattie loved school. Never saw a kid happier to be goin' than him. Every day he'd come home with somethin' he'd learned, all excited to share it. You could see how happy it made 'im. That's what a school outta be, not some hell where they torture little girls an' stick needles in their eyes an' cut pieces outta their brains to make 'em crazy.

If I ever find that place...

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Doc's had enough.

It's supper time an' she's still up there, so he got it into his head to do somethin' 'bout it.

Been up there with 'er goin' on ten minutes now.

Huh. Guess it's goin' good.

Oh.

Guess not.

He's wearin' most of the noodles from the bowl he took up to her to try an' make her eat. Now, I gotta admit that the girl could stand to get a little more meat on her bones, but I ain't dumb 'nough to ever try an' make 'er.

Guess top three percent don't know that.

I laugh.

Zoe smiles a little, but no one else says a word.

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It's late an' the ship's long since been powered down.

My turn for kitchen clean-up tonight, an' I'm takin' my time.

I'm dryin' the last cup when she comes in. She looks surprised for a second, like she didn't know I was here, but that passes quickly an' she just stares at me.

I don't look at 'er, just put the cup away and walk towards the couch an' sit.

She follows an' stands in front of me, starin' down at me in that way she has.

I look up at her then.

She's been cryin'. Her eyes are swollen an' red. She looks so gorram tired, I wish-

Damn, that girl moves like a gorram cat!

One second I'm lookin' at her lookin' at me an' the next I've got me a lapful o' girl.

She puts her head on my shoulder an' plays with the logo on my shirt. I wrap my arms 'round her an' kiss the top o' her head.

"You ready to talk 'bout it, darlin'?"

She shakes her head an' looks up at me, like she's done somethin' wrong an' she's sorry 'bout it an' she don't want me to be mad. I lean into her. I kiss 'er as slow an' sweet as I know how, like I know she loves when she's like this.

I hope an' pray that it helps.

I pull away an' she gives me a shy smile then buries her face in my neck, nuzzlin' it a little. Her right hand sneaks 'round an' starts playin' with my hair, so I hold her close an' wait, 'cause she knows.

She knows when she's ready to talk I'll listen.

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The End