Characters/Pairing: Richard Alpert, Shepherd Book, Serenity’s crew
Word Count: 747
Spoilers: For Lost, 6x09 “Ab Aeterno,” general for Firefly
Disclaimer: I don’t own these shows, nope!
Notes: This was written for crossovers_las for the prompt: “[character] is lost.”
Summary: Richard finds himself lost in both time and place, in space.
Richard could feel himself staggering, bumping through the small crowd in the galley with all the coordination of a drunk. He should be able to walk normally, Serenity was solid under his feet as it flew unimpeded through the void, but somehow in his mind it pitched and yawed like the Black Rock in the storm that had crashed him on the island. The young doctor kept trying to watch him surreptitiously, undoubtedly trying diagnosis after diagnosis in his head to determine his problem.
Would he believe Richard telling him the truth, that he was homesick? That he was lost, evicted from the one home he thought he could count on, set adrift in a world not his own, in a time he didn’t even recognize?
Maybe this crew would. Everyone here seemed to be lost in their own way. Lost inside their own mind, like little River, or inside their past, like the captain or the shepherd. Lost in another, like the pilot or the first mate, the doctor and his concern for his sister. Lost in the heart of the ship like the engineer, Kaylee, or their own ignorance, like Jayne. Maybe simply lost in their desire for something better, like the Companion. But would they understand being lost from their own world? Many of them called no land home.
Richard finally managed to make it to the warm vats of multicolored mulch that served as food here, and put something on his plate, trying to ignore the stares of the crew, however subtle or open. Maybe they thought him drunk, or dying. But it was memory that made him stagger.
Jacob’s half-trusted face looking at him with pity when he’d first asked Richard to guide a group of people who’d come to the island. That was Richard’s purpose, the reason he was alive, and he’d balked, not knowing if he could lead anyone else when he was so uncertain of everything. Jacob had shaken his head, put his hand on Richard’s shoulder, and he’d been here, wandering through a market and port of a world not even his own, the planet he’d called home a relic in the mists of time. Chance and Jacob’s small kindness at giving him some means of purchasing passage had drawn him to Kaylee’s bright smile and the battered ship on which he now flew.
Why bring him here, amongst these people? They needed no leader to lift them from their lost state, and no advisor to interpret the will of the ship. Captain Reynolds led the crew, his first mate backed him up. Kaylee led the health of the ship, and Dr. Tam saw to the health of its occupants…
So Richard had just watched, day after day, lost in thought as well as in body, seeing how the crew moved together. It was not always perfect, but they managed to stay intact, and even come out with at least some small kind of victory, at least some of the time.
“You’ve been mighty quiet, son.”
Richard looked up in surprise to see the shepherd at his chair.
“Do you have something on your mind you’d care to talk about?”
Richard almost shook his head to discourage him, then stopped himself. “I… feel out of place,” he said finally. That was certainly true enough. Anything further might move him from the category of “bumbling newcomer” and into the realm of “crazy.”
“Most people do, if they’re honest with themselves. It’s only through trying to understand others that we find our own place in the world,” Shepherd Book said. Richard’s gaze strayed to the Bible on the Shepherd’s lap, still mostly unchanged from the one he’d owned apparently centuries ago. “Your faith can help you there, if you let it.”
Richard turned away from him, and looked over at everyone else. They were lost in their own worlds, but close-knit as any family, on a strange little ship floating through mysterious space.
He smiled suddenly as he realized what Jacob had wanted him to learn.
“Even lost, we can learn to trust,” Richard said quietly.
The Shepherd clasped his shoulder as Richard closed his eyes. The sounds around him seemed to fade from the thrum of engines to bird calls and the rhythmic rush of waves. He breathed deep and imagined he smelled salt air and could see Jacob’s smile. Very soon, Richard realized, feeling the heat of the tropical sun against his skin, he would no longer be lost.