HOPE SERIES: 3. "Body Blow"
Monday, August 10, 2009

"Time passes, little Hope is growing up and that sets Zoe to thinking."


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

SUMMARY: "Time passes, little Hope is growing up and that sets Zoe to thinking." 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

* * * * *

Seven years. Had it really been so long? The Captain gazed down from the catwalk, his eyes following the antics of little Hope as she ducked out of the reach of Kaylee's flapping hands, the bright red silk ribbon missing its' mark again and again. On the other side of Hope sat River, cross legged and laughing, her eyes dancing with mirth. Hope let Kaylee get close again, her face all angelic: the picture of youthful innocence. Only when Kaylee's hand shot out to take up those long loose curls did her head snap out of reach in a practised arc, his mechanic huffing and rocking back on her heels as the child danced away, mouth turned down in a rare sign of frustrated displeasure only Kaylee was not aiming her disapproval at Hope.

"Thought you was helpin'?"

River's eyes sparkled back. "I am."

"Huh, don't see no helpin' here."

River smiled softly. "She doesn't like her hair bound."

The mechanic shot her friend a hurt look. "She tell you that?"

"Doesn't have to. She's a free spirit."

"Yeah but, this is a pretty ribbon. See, Hope? Inara got it 'specially for me."

The light musical voice was as full of stubborn as any he had ever heard. "Then you wear it, Aunty K."

Mal smothered a laugh and sipped at his mug of tea, the corners of his eyes crinkled in amusement. He felt rather than heard another body settle at his side. "Somethin' amusin' you, sir?"

He nodded at the scene below. "Just Hope makin' her mark on the 'verse."

"What's she doin' now?"

The Captain looked up at his first mate quickly. "Ain't doin' nothin', that's the problem." He paused to smirk. "Kaylee's tryin' to tie ribbons in her hair but she ain't havin' none of it."

The smile on Zoe's face didn't stay as long as he expected.

"*Shenme shi*?"

The long slow intake of breath stiffened something in the Captain's spine. He forced himself to wait knowing that nothing good ever came from trying to hurry Zoe when she had something on her mind. "She's seven now. Growin' real fast."

He nodded, his eyes asking what was wrong. "That she is."

Zoe didn't look at him, her eyes following her daughter's antics as Hope darted around Kaylee sparking a spirited game of tag, the looser no doubt ending with a ribbon in her hair. "Should be gettin' some schoolin', mixin' with other children an' the like."

"You want I should hire a teacher?"

"No, sir. Just the life we lead, has me thinkin' is all."

It was like a low blow to the gut. Couldn't say he hadn't been expecting something like this since the little one had come along but Hope had fit in right from the get-go and for a time he had believed any reservations his first mate had about bringing up a child on a ship had vanished. Might have known it was an idea simply biding its' time.

"You fixin' to settle planet side?"

It took longer than it should have for Zoe to answer, which told Mal this was serious. A decision already worried and fretted over before being brought up with him which meant he would have next to no room to manoeuvre or talk her out of this. Had already been responsible for the loss of Wash. Wasn't going to make her lose anything else even if it broke his heart near in two. Not that his crew believed he had any such weakness but still. This was Zoe and what touched her touched him. Not even a jealous semi-muscular husband had been able to come between him and Zoe though Wash had come close on more occasions than the Captain was wont to count.

"Little place on Bernadette." Her voice was soft now, warming slowly to the subject when he didn't interrupt. "There's a house, little more'n a shack really but it's got a roof that don't leak an' room enough for me an' Hope. A small town on the outskirts of the main one, little schoolhouse an' a church, shops sellin' whatever can grow or be made with capable hands. Good folk, hard workin' an' such."

It took a couple of tries to make his tongue work without choking on it. "This piece of Heaven got a price?"

"I can afford it, sir. Been puttin' a little by since I got pregnant."

That hurt. Meant she'd been fixing to leave him for a while. No. Leave Serenity, not him though he was honest enough to admit that it amounted to the same gorram thing. He wondered what he could do to convince her to stay then realised he didn't have the right. If anyone had earned a happy ending it was Zoe and he didn't have the heart to demand she give that up along with everything else she had lost because of him.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*Shenme shi* = what's the matter?


Monday, August 10, 2009 3:48 PM


I think you just broke my heart along with Mal's. Happiness can be more the company you keep than a place you own. Hope Zoe can learn that lesson too.

Monday, August 10, 2009 8:10 PM


That made me sad =( Zoe is part of Serenity almost as much as Mal is *sigh* I liked seeing stubborn Hope scene though...bittersweet ^-^

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 12:42 AM


We really need to see this from Zoe's POV. Does she know what she's doing to Mal, the man who got her through the war and who she got through the peace? She must understand what she's going to do to the crew, taking their little girl away from them. It might have been more agreeable if she'd suggested they all stay planetside, but this ... definitely need more.

Friday, August 14, 2009 6:07 PM


Ouch...this one hurt!


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