HOPE SERIES: 1. "Bundle of Joy"
Sunday, August 2, 2009

"Months after Miranda, the terrible sadness that grips Serenity's crew is given an unexpected lift."


TITLE: "BUNDLE OF JOY" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: No specific pairing. RATING: PG-13. STATUS: First in the HOPE SERIES. ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: WEBSITE: None. All Firefly stories archived at

SUMMARY: "Months after Miranda, the terrible sadness that grips Serenity's crew is given an unexpected lift." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

He would never say it but it was the damnedest thing. Even as 7lb 4oz of screaming, squirming, orange faced trouble he could see the gorram likeness. Made him stare unblinking, momentarily unable to take his eyes off Zoe's child. The crew fussing around, taking it in turns to soothe the new arrival, Kaylee mother henning for all she was worth, the warmed blanket carefully wrapped around the newly washed babe. Worn out but so proud it fogged up his eyes to look at her. Mal wanted to give Zoe a medal but it wasn't number one on his wish list. No. Swallowing hard and slow around the lump rising in his throat and threatening to choke him, the only thing he wanted. Really. Was for Wash to have lived. The thought made his heart stumble and ache, the baby's cries muted as if his ears were under water though he could plainly see that little mouth stretched open in a long loud wail.

Simon kept telling Zoe it was normal, natural even, for a baby to cry. The trauma of coming out of the birth canal, away from the mother's warmth, the soft soothing musical darkness of the womb. Into a world of harsh light, colder temperatures and images moving in and out of view as those baby eyes tried to focus, not yet recognising them as faces. People. Mal stayed where he was, a couple of steps back from the rest of his crew. Emotion nailing his feet to the deck as he acclimated to the reality of the new life aboard his boat. River crouched beside the bed and grinning at mother and child, odd broken sentences dropped into other people's conversations and still the child cried. Kaylee passed the wrapped bundle reluctantly to Zoe, the weariness vanishing from his first mate's eyes as the baby settled against her chest. A break in the crying, smiles all round, then the little face creasing up for another bout.

It was funny. Really. Hi-larious to see his fearsome crew reduced to any and all antics to try to bring peace and quiet to the tiny precious bundle. The Captain smiled. Bundle of Joy his mama would have called her. Hair all dark and scattered with red hightlights but eyes bright and sharp as any adult. That there child was an old soul, no doubt about it. As he smiled to himself the little head turned and dark eyes fixed on his and all thought stilled in his head. The baby kind'a hiccoughed, the crying breaking off all sudden-like. Everyone held their rutting breath. The baby didn't blink, just stared at him all quiet-like but intense. Kaylee turned her head to see what the baby was looking at and smiled, her face lighting up like a lantern.

"She likes ya, Cap'n."

Should have felt awkward but he didn't. Huh. Must'a been the shock. "She doesn't know me."

Jayne huffed. "That's why she likes ya."

He should have said something to shut Jayne up but the words made no never mind, there were only those eyes and that shock of hair. A little piece of Wash and a whole lot of her deadly but loyal mama staring back at him as if to see what he was gonna do about it. Without realising he had moved, the Captain stepped up to the side of the bed, Simon making room for him. Inara smiling but he didn't smile back. He was staring at the baby as if no one else was in the room. Zoe dropped a kiss to the top of the babe's head, her eyes proud and amused.

"Wanna hold her?"

Should have said no. Should have done anything but open his arms natural as can be. Was such a little thing, light as a feather, hardly any heft to her at all. The child settled right quick in his arms and went quiet. The room around him hushed. Could'a heard a gorram pin drop. The baby looked at the Captain and the Captain couldn't look away. The baby's arms waved, tiny fingers reaching and grasping his finger. A yawn broke the spell, the baby's eyes closing and conversation starting up. Quiet. Reverent. Barely whispers. Holy almost. Zoe looked over the baby's head and met his eyes. No hiding the humour in them.

"Seems you have the touch, sir."

He wanted to deny any such thing. Hand the child back and get back to Captaining his boat but the words wouldn't come and his feet didn't seem to take the hint to get moving. Kaylee shuffled and nudged him into the seat by the bed. Inara's eyes laughing at him, Jayne scowling, eyes only gentling when he looked at the baby. Simon fussed over Zoe to make sure she was okay and didn't need anything. No one making a move to leave the infirmary. It was as if they were all held in thrall. After all the terrible things the crew had been through, the pain, the loss, the trauma. He held in his arms a new life, one that would be precious to them all. A child they would willingly die to protect and could not help but love.

Now that she was sleeping, Mal carefully handed the baby back to her mama. The look on Zoe's face so beautific he knew he would carry it with him to his grave as one of his most cherished possessions. Oh yeah, that child was special but she was also going to be trouble. He could tell. With each one of his gorram crew wrapped around her baby finger. And yet, he couldn't stop the smile of joy lightening something that had grown painfully dark inside him.

It was Kaylee that said what everyone was quietly thinking. "What're ya gonna name her?"

Zoe opened her mouth to speak but River beat her to it. "Hope."

Zoe stared at Simon's sister but River was looking down at the sleeping babe. Kaylee said it was a right pretty name and Zoe had to admit the name seemed to suit her. The Captain was struck by how something so helpless and tiny had brought them all the one thing they needed more than anything else in the 'verse. Funny, but he couldn't help think that Wash would have approved.

* * * * *


Sunday, August 2, 2009 3:36 PM


"She likes ya, Cap'n."

Should have felt awkward but he didn't. Huh. Must'a been the shock. "She doesn't know me."

Jayne huffed. "That's why she likes ya."

I laughed really hard at that line.

Lovely story, it really captures such an event through Mal's eyes. I love how he doesn't want to soften up and hold the baby, but he just melts and knows they're all going to be wrapped around Hope's finger.

Sunday, August 2, 2009 4:07 PM


Love this, nothing brings hope more than a new baby!

Sunday, August 2, 2009 4:28 PM


Oh how sweet! I love this.

Sunday, August 2, 2009 5:10 PM


Oh yes, Zoe's child would have an instant affinity for Mal, I do believe. Wonderfully done! :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009 6:34 PM


Great job on this - everyone so in character - even little Hope. Of course she was going to favor Mal - like mother like daughter. Love the relationships you described - and so like River to spring the name before Zoe.

Sunday, August 2, 2009 6:35 PM


I don't believe in the supernatural, but the concept of an "old soul" is an interesting one. Who do you think she is?

Sunday, August 2, 2009 6:54 PM


A generation comes and a generation goes.
But Serenity endures.

Monday, August 3, 2009 2:18 AM


Thank you for all the shiny comments! Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Monday, August 3, 2009 2:38 AM


Lovely little tale. Everything I would have commented on has been said, so I'll just say that it warmed me through, and I'd like to see a few later fics in Hope's life ...

Monday, August 3, 2009 10:34 AM


With all the positive feedback Jane, you could get what you want! Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Thursday, September 9, 2010 4:57 PM


I cried. I had no choice. I just had a second little girl eight months ago, so it was REALLY easy to picture this. Lovely job, as always.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 1:06 AM


Congratulations on the birth of your second bundle of joy, avalonsmommy. So happy the story resonated with you. Shiny! Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me!"


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