Summary: Book gives advice
WARNING: Spoilers for SERENITY
Notes: Written for the Twenty Week challenge at
Book has come to think of the crew on Serenity as his family. He'd like to think of them as his spiritual children, but they are too stubborn for guidance. The best he can do is offer advice, and hope that they follow.
When Mal comes to Haven, Book is pleased. He always loves to see his old friends, but when Mal pulls him to the side, and explains the situation with River, his heart goes out to all involved, because this can't end well.
He was an assassin, trained by the Alliance to look at nothing but the mission. He knows how dangerous that mentality is, that fanatical devotion to killing your target. He wishes that he could tell Mal more, but nothing he says can prepare him for what's to come.
For a moment, he thinks about leaving Haven, and joining Serenity again. He could help, but then he realizes that he would put everyone in danger, because he has stopped killing a long time ago, and any hesitation could be fatal.
Book warns Mal, before going to bed, but it's not enough. He spends the night thinking what he can do, how he can protect men and women who are tougher than gold, but in the end he knows that someone will suffer.
When they leave, he hugs Mal. "Be careful," Book tells him. "And do what you think it's right."
Mal laughs. "We are never doin' what's right, or we wouldn't be eatin', Shepherd."
Book smiles. They both know that Mal will do the right thing when it matters.
Death is all around him. The bullet in his body has already done too much damage for him to survive, and when he feels Mal's arms around him, he feels a pang of guilt for the pain his friends will feel at his death.
"You did what's right," Mal says looking him straight in the eyes.
"Coming from you, it means..." Book pauses, trying to catch his breath. "Absolutely nothing."
There is a look of recognition in Mal's eyes. Book has given his advice, and he can see that Mal has learned the lesson. Now he can dying, knowing that his family will be all right.