Married and Madly in Love
Tuesday, August 29, 2006

In the aftermath of Saffron, Wash and Zoe talk marriage, stars, and geese.


All works cited herein are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, 20th C. Fox, and Universal Motion Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended. Written for fun, not profit.

Notes: Constructive criticism is appreciated.


Married and Madly in Love


“How's your head, baby?” Zoe set a tentative hand on the back of Wash's neck and felt him shiver.

“Pounds a bit.”

They stood in silence for a few moments, watching the snow fall on the nameless moon where Saffron had parked the shuttle.

“Cold outside,” Zoe offered, testing the edge of Wash's desire to talk. She knew he was keeping something to himself, could feel it, all over her skin when she was near him. “We could take a walk.”

“Head hurts,” Wash mumbled. Though she had thought he was studying a nav chart lying on the console, she realized now he was just staring down, eyes not moving, shoulders tensing incrementally.

“Want me to get a stim?”

Wash grunted a reply. She knew it meant negation, but it had hardly any inflection.

“If your head hurts so bad you can't talk, you need a stim. Maybe a scan.”

“Zoe.” His voice was short and sharp. It made her realize just how upset he was. Her husband had many moods and nearly all of them went on endlessly, never shutting up for a minute if he could help it. And he had two modes of quiet: deep concentration, and irritation past the telling of it. The concentration she could understand. He was a cool, smooth man behind the stick, grinning where others would have screamed and only frowning a bit where many men might have begun praying, out loud, to any and all deities. This was irritation silence, his every non-expression screaming discontent to her.

“Don't suppose you want to talk about it?” She tried to make her voice easy, open, welcoming; tried to rid it of every nuance that would hurt him further. The words came out as a drawl, husky and sexy, not at all as she meant, and she worried at his reaction.

He listened for a minute and seemed to think, before grimacing and unselfconsciously rubbing his eyes, as an overly tired child might, with two fists and shaking shoulders.

“Enough. Tell me.” Zoe modulated her voice back to normal, using innate terseness to quash the overwhelming feelings of sympathy and care that, if allowed to bloom, would only make whatever was bothering her husband infected, and then they'd have a much bigger problem.

“Gorramit, Zoe!” He threw the unread nav chart at the windows, which were streaked with melting snow. Zoe folded her arms and waited. Never taking her attention away from her clearly distressed husband, she decided that the snow on the leafless trees was beautiful and that she would take a walk, if she got the chance. He looked wounded, pale, the mark on his head shining with ointment.

“Did you kiss her?” She took aim and fired.

“No.” His voice was quiet. Now he looked both wounded and angry. “Why would I kiss her?”

“She has a nice rack.” Her arms were still folded, legs still stretched out long in front of her.

“She has a nice rack,” he repeated, mocking her. “Nice eyes. Nice legs. I didn't like her feet though, when they slammed my skull into the bulkhead!” By the end, he was shouting, standing over her with his fists clenched.

Zoe tried to remain implacable, but couldn't help wincing as he bent over her, shouting.

“What really happened?”

“You don't need me to tell you.” He stepped over her legs, crossed at the ankles, and moved to the front of the bridge, sliding past the fore stairs to hunch in the window space. He made to rest his forehead against the cold, thick glass, then reconsidered and placed his arm there instead, and leaned into the cool.

“Was it dinosaurs?” When he didn't answer, merely sighed, she asked again. “History? What was it?”

Wash nodded and his wife suspected he was annoyed.

“You said nothin' happened.”

“Nothing did,” he bit out, still angry. The snow was starting to stick to the windows as the ship cooled, waiting for the return of their captain, with his shuttle.

“But it could have?”

“No,” he groaned. “I know for a fact you'd murder me.”

There. A joke. She could work with that. “Not right away,” she replied and thought she saw his shoulders shake a little, in laughter. She hoped. “What kind of history she know that I don't?”

Wash finally turned, cheeks and nose pink with cold, and looked at her hard. He leaned where he was, against the machinery that sat fore of the console on the bridge, making himself comfortable. She was tired of leaning and twisting, so she turned and sat down in his chair, leaning back and crossing her legs. She watched him watch her.

“She made me think it was the first time she'd been off world,” he began. Zoe nodded, understanding and relief flooding her, making her feel almost lightheaded. All the uncertainty of the last 24 hours, the giddy unknowns and terrifying shocks, receded as she incorporated that bit of information. As far as she was concerned, that was all he needed to say. But this was her husband, and he talked.

“She pulled me up.” He gestured to where she was sitting. “And started talking about the stars.” He grimaced at her, a pained smile, and she almost made a sympathetic cooing noise. Damn woman had been good, learning each of them, or at least each man, from just a few subtle cues and honing in on their weaknesses. She reminded herself to be glad, later, at the strength of her men.

“And then she tells me the legend of Earth that Was. I thought, what legend? But by that time she was holding my hand and her other fingers sorta stroked my arm. I had never thought about my arm that way before,” he added, almost as an aside, then abruptly shifted back into his narrative. “And she made up some story about earth and stars and things were rushing. She used the word 'ecstasy,' Zoe. I'm sorry. It was a bigger word than I'm used to around here.”

“Just what are you saying, husband?” Zoe interrupted, a low warning.

“Not a little thing, snack cake. Just struck me is all.” They both knew he was lying and both accepted his lie. He because he couldn't get his wife to talk to him more, that's just how she was; and she because of all the impediments to their version of happily ever after, having a husband who liked chatty women was not that big a deal.

“We live with a companion.”

“No, we fly with a companion. Point is, I was all turned about. But it all seemed so untrue. And she turned and her breasts were practically on my damn forearm.”

Zoe fought back a smile at the look of horror on his face. “Nice rack,” she answered.

Fuzu, of all the... same forearms!” He paused to regroup. “I. I, uh.... made, Zoe. So she just lays it all out right there. Breasts, stars, big words, the whole miserable, enticing, I didn't say enticing, scene. Backed me right up to the lockers.”

“With her breasts?”

“With her breasts. Well, I didn't want to touch them.”

“Not at all?”

“No,” he huffed and made a twisting, equivocating gesture that said, all things being equal, hey, I would have liked to have touched them. “No,” he affirmed.

Xie xie.

“Yeah.” They stared at one another for a moment, Zoe's eyebrow inching slowly up her forehead. “Hey!” He finally shouted. “You left me all alone with her?”

“So now it's my fault?” She asked it calmly, but it only took a beat for them to realize what she'd said and dissolve into laughter.

“She was all over me. Without, you know, actually touching.”

“Right here?” Zoe hooked a thumb over her shoulder at the locks and avionics racks. Wash made his way forward, back from the fore section of the bridge. The windows had gone a pastel purple with a layer of snow and sunset.

“First here, then there. Then my head starts to hurt and the next thing I see is Jayne's crotch.”

“Ugh, baby,” Zoe crowed.

“I knew you were there, but I looked up and he was standing over me, trying to pry the doors open.”

“I'll take the responsibility for that.”

Xie xie,” Wash snickered and slid onto the console into the makeshift seat Zoe usually kept. Zoe reached out and stroked his hip. “And that's all.”

“Why'd it bother you so much?”

Wash crossed his arms across his chest, stared at the middle distance over Zoe's shoulder, and thought. The ship gave off little ambient noise, as it was, with the engines off. They could hear the air and water cyclers turning, pumping and blowing, but it was such quiet background noise it might as well not have been on at all. He eventually turned his head to stare out the windows, gone completely opaque and now a deep, glittering indigo, not so very different from the look of the black.

Zoe tried another tack. “Did it turn you on?”

Wash's head swung back around, slowly. The expression on his face could have been disbelief, but Zoe knew it wasn't. It was Wash's own, personal, curious mix of temptation and shamelessness. She had strayed into territory she might regret and she knew it.

“I was hard as soon as she said 'Earth that was.'” He looked her square in the eye as he said it and Zoe held that gaze, feeling a curious, angry blush start to rise.

“And I told them specifically that you weren't interested in that jian huo...

“I know.” He cut her off.

“A pofu with big tits what you want?” The creeping blush, demonstrably an autonomic response to her husband talking about his erections, had been replaced by creeping fury.

“No,” he said levelly, and rubbed his eyes again. They stared at one another a few more minutes, neither looking away or breaking the game. “You've been spoiling for a fight since she made him dinner, moon cake. What's really on your mind?”

Zoe immediately cut her eyes. The blush returned.

“My knees aren't that interesting,” Wash said. Zoe sighed. “Are they? I have the same three jumpsuits and never bother to look.”

Zoe sighed again. “I had to torture him a bit.” And then she cringed, expecting an explosion.

“I know,” Wash finally replied. He was grinning but she hadn't looked up. “I was counting on you to get him for both of us. Then you just got pissed off.”

“I could tell she wasn't on the up and up.”

“Yeah. And Mal did need to have it rubbed in his face, after all the grief he gave us.”

She nodded, still looking woeful. “Sorry.”

“No reason to be, dumpling. Yet another episode of being miserably used by the captain.”

Zoe sighed a third time and reached out to grasp her husband's hand. He accept it, then pulled her out of his chair and into his arms. She came willingly and molded herself to his body, sliding between his legs and wrapping her arms around his neck. He lowered his head and pressed a kiss to the curve of her jaw. She held him tightly.

When he pulled back to look at her, a lock of her hair traveled out, stuck in the ointment on his forehead. She picked at, her face a moue of distaste, while he laughed.

“Head feel better?”

“Feels some better.”

“Want to tell me the legend of Earth that Was?”

“Very much,” he breathed. “Let me see if I can remember.” He kissed her cheek then, and the corner of her mouth. She melted closer to him yet and confirmed that the phrase “earth that was” did indeed have an effect on him. He chuckled into her ear and pressed back.

“A long time and many moons, far away in the stars,” Zoe started.

“No,” he whispered and mumbled briefly in Chinese, she caught a few words of the catechism she had started. “When she was born she had no stars. So she invited them to her.” He punctuated his story by kissing her forehead, eyelids, and full lower lip that slid from a smile to an expression of relaxed pleasure.

“And they went, rushing to her, into her, through her.” He stroked her hair and ran the tips of his fingers down her arms. She ran a thumb over his lips and down his throat. She set her hands on his waist, feeling the muscles quiver as she did, then ran her hands down over his hips. Neither of them saw the docking lights on the secondary hatch glow green.

“And then she came,” Wash breathed, cupping his wife's breast, using his legs to draw her ever closer to him. She gasped, letting her eyes flutter shut, as his other hand gripped the swell of her ass. Her own hands groped at his suit, fumbling through the haze of her arousal, until she found his hard cock and began to stroke it. In their sighing and caressing, neither of them felt the slight rock indicating the shuttle had docked.

“And in her cries, her throes,” Wash choked, before Zoe twined her tongue with his, devouring his mouth, all thoughts of argument forgotten. They weren't aware of the sound of clanging, approaching footfalls, stiff, heavy, and foreboding.

“She blew it... out,” Wash gasped, clutching his wife's ass and grinding her body to his. He buried his face in the fragrant space near her earlobe and kissed her frantically. “And then there was the sky, and the stars.” And just as he was about to spasm into her touch, throbbing with lust of her, and she for him, they were interrupted.

“Give me one good gorram reason I shouldn't fire you both.”

“Sir?” Zoe asked? She turned to face the door but didn't move her body away from her husband's. Wash's hands loosened their grip on her ass and slid slowly up to her waist, slowly enough to torment Mal, which was entirely the intention.

“Have we not had enough of this nonsense?” Mal appeared whole and no worse for the shuttle-rescuing mission.

“I never get enough of this,” Wash mumbled under his breath. Zoe did her best to hide a smile.

“I heard that!” Mal's eyes widened in anger and he aimed a finger at the couple, still entwined. They were no longer protecting Wash's modesty, but there seemed to be an understanding that they'd made such progress after nearly two days of bickering that both were loathe to move. “Have we not had enough of this?”

“Enough of this, sir?” Wash felt Zoe's body twitched as she struggled not to laugh. “You were only married for a day. You ought to give it a bit of time.”

Mal struggled with speech for a moment, mouth making words and discarding them, hands twisting into fists and gestures he didn't follow through with. Wash lowered his forehead to Zoe's shoulder and gave into the laughter.

This redoubled Mal's efforts at a dressing-down until he finally shouted, “Enough from you, Mrs. Washburn!” He blinked then, as if coming to his senses and whirled, stomping down to his bunk.

Wash and Zoe broke into laughter, not caring whether or not whether or not they were heard. And each time their mirth subsided they looked at one another and continued to laugh. Zoe finally blotted tears from her eyes and pressed a gentle kiss to Wash's wounded forehead.

“Thank you, Mrs. Washburn,” he said, quietly, belly aching from laughter, and set his hands back on her hips.

“You're welcome,” she answered. “That was funnier than juggling geese.”



Tuesday, August 29, 2006 5:33 PM


i love this. it's like...fluffy smut-angst. ;) i think you really understand wash and zoe's complex, unique relationship. all the snow imagery was especially beautiful, as were zoe's insights into the man that is wash. i feel like there's so much more to his character than what we see on the show. anyway, very very lovely. thanks~

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 8:37 PM


Oh how they do love to tease their Captain and I could so see Zoe wanting to find out exactly how Saffron had affected her husband. Just lovely and very in character for everyone. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, November 26, 2011 2:20 PM


:) :) :) smiles all around this indeed was funnier than juggling geese :)


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Red Rocket, White Candle
I ain't sayin' there's any peace to be had, but if there is, Wash will find it in the Western sky.

Married and Madly in Love
In the aftermath of Saffron, Wash and Zoe talk marriage, stars, and geese.

Consistent Resurrection
A short history of Zoe.

First Mate
Wash is injured-- physically, and by Zoe's reluctance to make him her first priority.

Laid Bare
Ever wonder what happened to that ambulance? A little bridge between Ariel and War Stories.

Natural Talent
Kaylee and Wash? It could have happened, but it didn't.

Over and Over and Over
Moments of Zoe, in the spaces of War Stories.

Extreme Unction
The living heart of Serenity bleeds to death. A volley at Succatash.

The Heart of Her
Wash proposes.

Mood to Burn Bridges
Mal's original edict on shipboard romances