"Wait! Wash. Where's Wash?" Kaylee's voice held a note of desperation that was mirrored by the look on her face. All of them looked to Zoe.
"He ain't comin'." Zoe coolly loaded her gun. She looked up and the grim lines around her mouth were harsher than usual.
Kaylee's face fell. The others stared at Zoe in dismay. Jayne stood for a moment, holding the handle of a crate.
Ain't comin'. What does that even mean? Is he holding the back? No. The lines on Zoe's face. Wash had a knack of keeping them at bay… They are in full force. Wash is never coming.
In the split second that he pondered, Jayne saw Zoe falling. Failing. It was now up to him. Only he, in this moment, could hold things together. "Move the gorram crates!"
He had no chance to reflect on Wash for himself. Right now, he was just one less person to protect. Jayne's words spurred the others to action and relit the desperate fire in Zoe's eyes; the fire that only he could sense was on the verge of leaving. Now she was back. And could share the burden once more.