AN: this is a bit of a science heavy chapter, sorry.
Buffy lay on the floor, as the table had been wrecked, and tried not to wince as the doctor dabbed anti-septic on her various cuts, his hesitancy and flinching at any movement from her making it hurt more, as well as irritating the hell out of her. Zoe would have been a better choice, her steady hands and battlefield medical experience more than enough for the job, but as she had pointed out she was the only one not likely to hesitate if something happened, so she stood by the door with her gun patiently. Mal had sent Jayne and Kaylee to wait in the engine room with the door locked, River sat calmly at the base of the stairs, having refused to lock herself in the bridge. Mal paced anxiously, outside the glass, irritating everyone.
"She wants to shout at you, but Simon might urinate, and her throat is too sore." River commented loudly, so they could hear her inside the medbay.
"What?" Mal asked.
"His pacing is driving me crazy and I thought yelling at him would make you wet your pants." Buffy managed to whisper to the Doctor, knowing her voice wouldn't reach the next room. Zoe heard though.
"Captain, won't you just sit down. It's no good to anyone you wearing through the deck plates like a first time papa. She seems fine."
"I just wish I knew what had happened." Mal slumped into the couch, his foot tapping on the floor only slightly better than the pacing.
"She fought it in her head and won." River stated matter of factly. Simon took one last look at the re-splinted leg, then stood to go and look in his microscope, Zoe noted the wire tight tension through the Doctor as he turned his back on Buffy, but still he did, and that said more than anything that he thought she was better, somehow. Zoe put her gun in her holster and stepped out of the room.
"I don't think anything's gonna happen Captain, you may as well go in, no way a reaver would be able to put up with your pacing without attacking someone, I know I was starting to think about it." She smiled at River, knowing the girl wouldn't call her on her lie, as Mal rushed past. He scooped her into a hug, which Buffy returned, ignoring the pain from her ribs, Simon on the other hand swatted Mal on the shoulder.
"She's supposed to be trying to lay still." He returned to his work, a little of the tension easing from his back. "I think I would need some blood from a reaver to compare it with to be sure, but it looks like she's developed a way to deal with the problem... "
"Well whatever the disease there's usually some portion of the population, however small, that is able to resist it, even man-made ones, Pax isn't exactly the same, but it behaves in a similar manner, making more of itself, collecting around the aggression centre of the brain... but somehow she's got extra varieties of phase 1 and 2 detoxification enzymes, essentially rather than letting it build up she's removing it from the system the same way we'd metabolise alcohol." Simon spoke wonderingly.
"So you can catch being a reaver? Should we worry, are we going to catch it?"
"Not unless you try injecting some of her blood into yourself, it bonds with the biological aspects to avoid excretion, I'd say even then it's a low chance, from what we heard on Miranda they added it directly to the air processors, it wasn't transmitted from person to person, and it doesn't look like it would be unless you cover yourself in scratches and rub their blood all over you. We should send these findings to someone to look at, if we attached the code to make it to a retrovirus, and crossed it with a rhinovirus, we could get rid of the reavers... theoretically... as easily as giving them a cold..."
"Ok Doc, you've got the time to play with that blood sample, let me know when you need to send it. Can I put Buffy to bed? Do we need to watch her?"
"Well according to the scans she's already purged the brain and most of the spinal cord, it might take a day or two to clear the system completely, but I should think sleep would be the best thing, I'm actually more worried about her leg... She shouldn't have been using it, but Reavers aren't known for looking after themselves." Simon muttered distractedly, his mind already on the potential such a discovery might have.
Buffy struggled to sit up, trying to figure out how she would get to her feet when Mal picked her up.
"Whoa, heavy for a little thing aren't you? Come on, I'll get you settled... just... don't do that to me again ok?" Mal tried to keep his voice light. Buffy didn't bother replying, aware her denser muscles added to her weight, she rested her head against his shoulder and tried to relax, while Zoe radioed to tell Jayne and Kaylee they could come out.