The Wash-shaped void inside of Zoe was a hollow thing, devouring every other thought in the middle of the night. Everyone kept saying that time healed all wounds, that she would be whole again if she simply let it happen.
Zoe remained silent and stoic when the others spoke that way. Her silence generally made them turn away uncomfortably, not understanding that she needed to keep the void. They didn't understand that healing was forgetting, and she refused to forget.
It was already hard enough to remember the sound of his voice. She had his goofy smile fixed in her mind, and she could mimic the press of his fingers into her arms. Zoe could close her eyes at night and hold onto one of his shirts and grieve that it no longer smelled like him. The very essence of Wash that she used to love inhaling was long since gone, and she was left with an empty shell of memories.
The cockpit didn't smell like him either, but she could feel his presence there. He liked to think that souls returned to the stars when they died, that it was the reason why he was so at home in the deep black or flying through the skies. "This body can't quite hold my soul, my beauteous Autumn Flower," he had said one night when they talked about it. They had been lying on their stomachs on their bed, not quite tired even though they were sated. Wash had laughed and run his fingers down her bare spine, tickling her. "Yours probably could, though. You're strong enough for the both of us." There hadn't been much talking after that.
Zoe sat in the pilot's chair and looked at the dinosaurs. River carefully dusted them and kept them in their last configuration. She didn't play with them or give them voices the way that Wash had, calling them holy relics.
Sometimes her odd speech made perfect sense. Zoe looked at them and the starlight beyond. "Hey baby," she said to the silent room. "I was thinking about you again today."
She couldn't remember the sound of his voice, but Zoe was sure that he was grinning at her and saying Oh, you were? in a pleased tone of voice. Go on.
This was the only place where Zoe allowed herself to laugh at her memories of Wash, to say their silly private endearments aloud. "Oh, yes. There was a run past Persephone, and Patience actually hired on someone to take a boat into the sky to hunt us down. You'd've laughed at the poor fool. Couldn't fly worth a damn. River damn near channeled your skill..." Zoe trailed off; for all she knew, River could actually do that. "I miss you, baby. I always will."
A star twinkled in the black ahead of her. I miss you, too.
With a sad smile, Zoe stared at the star and held onto the T rex.