HOPE SERIES: 2. "Sugar and Spice"
Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Zoe isn't happy to be left behind but for once things turn out shiny."


TITLE: "SUGAR AND SPICE" AUTHOR: Alison M. DOBELL FANDOM: "FIREFLY" PAIRING: No specific pairing. RATING: PG-13. STATUS: Sequel to "BUNDLE OF JOY". ARCHIVE: Yes. Just let me know where. FEEDBACK: Welcomed. EMAIL: WEBSITE: None. All Firefly stories archived at

SUMMARY: "Zoe isn't happy to be left behind but for once things turn out shiny." 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

* * * * *

Wasn't nothing but a milk run only Mal had memories of another such job that had gone all manner of south. Him and Wash falling into the hands of the most unlovely *hundan* in the whole 'verse. No way was he repeating that experience with things so tentatively on the up, if not financially then certainly on the gorram emotional level.

"I'm comin' with you, sir."

He shook his head, Jayne pretending not to listen as he readied the mule. River setting Serenity down as if kissing the earth not settling on it. Well. What passed as soil on this burnt out dust bowl of a sand blasted world as this. Wasn't Whitefall trouble enough without the mean spirited witch branching out into other hell holes? Apparently not.

"*Bushi*. Need you on Serenity, Zo. Babe's barely ten days old."

Her eyes narrowed, a dangerous edge creeping into her voice but it was the tiny touch of hurt she couldn't quite hide that hit home hardest. "I always watch your back, sir."

It was said soft enough but in the silence every syllable carried. The Captain forced extra brightness into his voice. "*Wo zhidao* an' I appreciate it but this is a milk run. 'Sides, Jayne'll be with me."

Dark eyebrows rose as if questioning his sanity. "She shot you last time."

He nodded, checking his gun before re-holstering it while he waited for the nod from Jayne before slapping his palm on the big red button to open the cargo bay door. "That she did but this ain't Whitefall."

"No, but it's still Patience, sir. You can't trust her."

"Never do but this is business. Do the job, get paid."

Zoe huffed, so many conflicting emotions in that gesture. "Kaylee can look after Hope."

"Don't doubt it but we ain't havin' this conversation, *dong ma*?"

She was still staring out across the miles of sand and scrub minutes after the mule was out of sight. River found her there and for once said nothing. Zoe couldn't help wondering if that was significant.

* * * * *

Patience had named the desert world White Sands. It weren't all sand and scrub. Had a low mountain range to the North but whatever reason Patience had for owning this world she wasn't like to tell him and he wasn't interested enough to ask. Just tote the boxes of supplies to the meeting place and get the job done. Naturally, it didn't go smooth.

The shot was pitched from a high powered sniper rifle, caught him square in the chest. Even as the Captain was falling Jayne rolled off the mule and brought Vera up to spray the cheating *pofu* and her trigger happy henchmen until only he and the old lady were still standing. Patience didn't so much as blink, her face as calm as can be. Jayne rose to his feet slowly, his gun not wavering and indicated for her to lay her own gun down. She dropped it on the sand, her eyes flicking contemptuously to where the Captain lay in a crumpled heap half on and half off the mule. Patience shook her head.

"I never have met a stupider man than Malcolm Reynolds."

She turned her head and gave Jayne all her attention, her look one of assessment. Not a flicker of concern that he would shoot her. "Could use a man like you."

Jayne snorted but said nothing. Patience cocked her head, using the shade from the brim of her hat to get a good look at him."

"Work for me an' I'll give you a right good deal."

The mercenary openly laughed, his finger tightening just a fraction on the trigger of his gun. "Seen how well that works out. Thanks but no thanks. You're a double-dealin', cheatin', mean spirited, lyin' piece o' *goushi* an' I wouldn't trust you to tell me it was rainin'."

She squinted. "It ain't."

A couple of rapid shots cracked through the still air. Patience froze a moment, a look of shock on her face. Staring at Jayne as if two and two no longer made four. He wasn't looking at her, the gun in his hand swapped in the blink of an eye for his sniper rifle. One shot, that was all it had taken to get her sharp shooter out of the gorram equation. Confusion dulled her eyes, the pain in her chest a slow blossom of realisation. A warm toffee voice rang cold as an echo from the grave at her feet.

"You're loosin' your edge, Patience. Never thought I'd see the day."

Jayne loved it. The look on that *pofu's* face when the Captain rose to his feet, his gun in hand, the misty blue smoke drifting away from the end of the barrel. Patience turned her head and stared at him, the light in her eyes growing dimmer by the second. "You're dead."

The Captain smiled, ripped his shirt open and tapped on the bullet proof vest with his free hand. "Them as ignore history are doomed to repeat it."

She tried to say something. They didn't know what. Hardly cared. The Captain brushed himself off and walked up to her as the old woman sagged, falling to her knees before the light in her eyes finally went out. Jayne cawed, voice full of happy, fairly skipping over to join the Captain as he reached into her pocket and took out the bag of coin. "I do the job, get paid."

"She's dead, Mal."

The Captain turned his head. "I know that."

"Yeah, well, you're talkin' to a dead woman."

Mal swallowed back the stream of sarcasm building in his throat. "Well she sure never listened when she was alive."

The big man laughed then glanced back at the crates still on the mule. "What d'ya wanna do about them?"

"She paid for 'em, let her have 'em."

Jayne's look was incredulous. "She's dead, Mal! Ain't no use to her now."

The Captain gave him a glare and started off loading the boxes. "I ain't a thief, Jayne - well, I am, but not today. Just doin' a job, *dong ma*?"

"An' I thought moon-brain was *shenjingbing*."

"Can always leave you here if you'd rather?"

The big man muttered a couple of obscenities under his breath then helped get the rest of the boxes unloaded. Unnoticed, a small crate landed on the floor of the mule where it had rolled off a larger crate. Soon as they were done the Captain jumped back on the mule and Jayne had to hurry to hop on or be left behind.

Back at Serenity Inara was trying to hide her worry. Zoe cradled her newborn and sang softly. Kaylee came running over to where both women were standing on the catwalk, grease smudges on her face and neck. Simon joined them seconds later as Kaylee smiled down at the baby. Zoe gave her a quizzical look and the mechanic nodded towards the cargo bay door in explanation.

"Mule's back."

Zoe was about to say she hadn't heard anything when the distinctive sound of the mule approaching the ship had her shutting her mouth with a snap. How the *diyu* had Kaylee known? The mechanic beamed.

"Could hear her from the engine room."

Simon was amused. "Kaylee, I couldn't hear anything until it arrived just now."

Her look was smug, her hand tapping his arm like someone giving a consolation prize. "That's why I'm the mechanic an' you're the doc."

Jumping off the mule Mal shut the cargo bay door, about to ask Jayne what he was staring at when the big man reached down into the mule and held a small box in his hands. The Captain frowned. "What did I say about not takin' any of that cargo?"

"Weren't me, Mal. Must'a fallen outta a crate."

"They were sealed, Jayne."

The big man met the Captain's eyes and began to frown. "Didn't take nothin'."

River jumped up on the running board of the mule and peered at the box. "Not what you think."

"What'm I thinkin'?"

The girl grinned at Jayne then the Captain. "A little extra. A luxury for herself."

Jayne's face lit up, thinking of diamonds and rubies and maybehaps gold. Who knew what that onery old witch had hidden for herself? The Captain hoped it wasn't something rigged to explode the moment you opened it. Laughing, River reached out and took it from Jayne before he could protest, dancing away with her laughter ringing in their ears.

"River, you come back with that!" The Captain yelled.

Simon looked concerned but his sister shook her head, lowering her voice so the Captain and Jayne would not overhear. "Isn't dangerous."

Kaylee caught up with her. "What is it?"

"Like the baby."

It wasn't until much later when Serenity was flying through atmo and River had finished helping Kaylee with the evening meal that delicious smells wafted through the aging transport ship. Jayne tried to dodge past the Reader but to no avail. Zoe wanted to ask but from the determined look on River and Kaylee's faces knew she would have to wait like the rest. The Captain was just happy his crew still had all their fingers and thumbs. Little Hope stirred, Zoe rocking and cooing while Jayne peered over her shoulder and made faces. Every time Zoe turned to see what he was doing the big man had an innocent blank look on his face. The Captain was trying not to laugh too much, his chest sore from the impact of the bullets in the vest but only bruised. Jayne's nose twitched as everyone settled around the table, Kaylee and River triumphantly bearing in two metal trays with spiced apples baked in sugar and cinammon.

Jayne's eyes widened. "Is that my apples?"

"*Our* apples." Kaylee amended. "Remember, you gave them to us?"

The Captain's eyes sparkled, Inara smiling as the crew took hefty portions of the rare treat. River waited until everyone was eating, the sounds of appreciation leaving the room humming with high content. "Told you. Just like the baby."

Zoe frowned, the little one in her arms now fast asleep. "What do you mean?"

Her grin was infectious. "Sugar and Spice and all things nice!"

"Huh," said Jayne, "then what in the *diyu* was Patience doin' with it?"

The Captain smiled, leaning forward to carefully pick up another slice of the spiced apple with his chopsticks. "Don't jinx it, Jayne. 'Bout time we had a deal went sweet."

"Only it didn't, did it?" Quipped Zoe.

"Oh, I don't know 'bout that. You wanted to watch my back an' you did. Vest was a mite tight but I ain't complainin'. Still walkin' an' talkin'."

"Any one ya walk away from." Murmured Jayne.

For once not a single soul disagreed with him.

* * * * *

GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*hundan* = bastard *bushi* = not so *wo zhidao* = I know *diyu* = hell *dong ma* = understand? *shenjingbing* = crazy *pofu* = bitch *goushi* = crap/dog shit


Saturday, August 8, 2009 5:23 AM


"Bundle of Joy" was intended to be a one shot but following a request for more here it is. Just goes to prove we should be careful what we wish for... Ali D :~)
"You can't take the sky from me"

Saturday, August 8, 2009 5:45 AM


Sweet. Now I've suddenly got an urge to make baked apples. But I can leave the bullet proof vest at home. Very nicely done. I can so easily see Zoe with this baby.

Saturday, August 8, 2009 6:00 AM


Funny how "Mal gets shot" is no factor in whether an outcome is good or not. XD

Maybe he should wear bullet proof vests ALL of the time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009 11:24 AM


In *Zoe's* vest? Can't help feeling he hasn't quite got the wherewithal to fill it properly! Thank goodness ...

And Patience got her comeuppance. It had to happen sometimes. And I love the spiced apples the girls cooked. All in all one to savour!

Saturday, August 8, 2009 3:29 PM


Had an apple crisp for desert at dinner. This was the icing.

Sunday, August 9, 2009 3:08 AM


Gotta say, I loved this one =) especially when patience get hers...considering Mal's right hand was left behind, it was very wise to wear the vest ;)

Friday, August 14, 2009 6:04 PM


Excellent, as always. Sorry I'm late...real life and all. *sigh* Great stuff!


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The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

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