Prompt: remembering the fallen
Length: 500 words
Rating: PG-13 for barracks language
Summary: Simon sees a ghost
"God," said Simon, "aren't things bad enough without hallucinations?" He glared at Miles, then scrubbed at his eyes.
"Er," said Miles, not yet sure what time Simon was visiting, in his head. "It's all right," he offered. "Your memory chip is malfunctioning."
"I don't see how that improves matters," Simon snapped. "I can't believe you're talking to me. We don't even have a body for the fucking funeral."
Light began to dawn. "I'm not dead," he said.
"Not dead," Simon echoed flatly. "Not dead. I watched the squad's vid records. I saw your chest sprayed open in a three-metre radius around you, and then I had to describe it all to Aral and Cordelia."
Miles winced. "No. Your memory chip isn't working right. It's been a year since then. They found the cryo-chamber and put me back together and I'm fine now." He didn't mention the seizures. On impulse, he added, "Look. There are the scars."
He pulled at the collar of his uniform, revealing the cryo-freeze scars on either side of his neck, right over the arteries. Simon stared at him, then uncertainly reached out and traced a scar with his finger. His hand was cold, with a slight tremor. Abruptly, Simon pulled Miles into a bone-crushing embrace.
Miles swallowed. Simon had not showed such emotion when they had met first after Miles' death and revival, and until now he hadn't given a thought to what Simon had felt about it all. He became aware that Simon, still gripping his shoulder, was cursing him.
"Do you have any idea what we went through? You vanished on your hare-brained stunt--leaving the most useless records imaginable, I might add--and then you fucking well died, and disappeared. My God, boy, with everything else that was happening--" He broke off, stared at Miles with frozen horror. Miles blinked, wondering if he'd had another memory shift, but Simon asked, in a dead-level voice that revealed his emotions by implication, "Your father?"
Understanding at once, Miles said, "Da's fine. He's finally retired. Mother's over the moon."
Simon seemed to wilt then, and Miles was reminded of his duty here. "Sir, you should sit down--drink this--" he reached for the mug the medtech had left and thrust it into Simon's hands. "Everything is all right. They'll be operating to sort out your chip soon." And it couldn't come soon enough. Miles wasn't sure how much more of this he could take.
Simon obeyed, but he only got halfway through the mug before a memory shift interrupted him. He hurled the mug at the wall, stared at Miles in dismayed confusion, and they began again.