Collisions~ Chapter 4
Thursday, September 8, 2005

That went well...


Zoë was climbing the ladder out of her bunk before Wash had started dressing, forcing herself not to look back and drink in the sight of his naked body taking up space in her bunk. She pulled on her shirt as she walked, fingering the buttons quickly as she made her way through the corridors and stairs that lead to the cargo bay.

What had she been thinking?

Oh, she knew what she’d been thinking. It had been a harrowing day, and a long time since she’d gotten any play. And here was this cocky pilot, flirting with her and making her laugh, hard working and good at what he did, and far too forward. He was crazy, and brave in an honest kind of way that had nothing to do with the egotistical bravado that seemed drive so many of the men she’d met in her life time. She had thought to take a nice big bite and get it out of her system, but the experience had moved her in a way she didn’t want to think about.

It couldn’t be anything more then just blowing off steam.

She thumped down the metal stairs, taking out her irritation on them, stomping to a halt in front of her Captain, who cocked eyebrow at her surly arrival.

“Just attempting to set things to right in my bunk, sir,” she said. And failing miserably, she added to herself. There was no change in the placid look she presented to Mal, however.

“Where’s Wash?” Mal asked looking up toward the bridge.

“I reckon doing much of the same,” she replied blithely, banishing the mental image that came to her of Wash sprawled beautifully naked on her bed, looking like he had something to say.

“Well these crates need two people for haulin’,” he pressed the button on the console again. “Wash!”

“Yeah,” Wash’s voice sounded from above stairs, and Zoë found herself looking up to see him making his way down, his hair in even greater disarray then usual, if such a thing was possible, and she felt a treacherous lurch in her stomach at the thought that her fingers had made it so. “I’m here Cap’n, just …” he scratched the back of his head and Zoë felt a moment of pure panic. Wash hadn’t been around tremendously long, just a bit under a year, but she knew him well enough to know that he wasn’t what you’d call apt at nervousness. One wayward part of her mind reminded her that she also knew him well enough to know the sounds he made when brought to fulfillment, and that flying a ship wasn’t the only thing he had skills for. She closed her eyes a moment to reign in that traitorous thought, but the calm façade of her countenance was never broken. And Wash finished, as he tramped down the stairs. “Finishing up with the console. I’m definitely gonna need some new fuses. I must’ve blown them out when I overrode the thruster protocol.”

“Well, then you can take care of that when you and Bester head back to pick up the heat shielding.” Mal said, and Wash frowned slightly tossing a look at Bester. “For now, let’s get our client’s crates loaded nice and secure so that there is some small hope of recovering from this little foray into being a meteor.”

“Yes, sir,” Wash said in a tone that managed to show some respect without the slightest hint of servitude. Zoë followed him out of the ship realizing he hadn’t looked at her once since he’d poked his head out of the portal.

Several hours later, Zoë was still restoring order to Serenity, checking over Shuttle one, when Wash and Bester returned on the mule towing the heat shielding behind them. Zoë heard the familiar sound of the vehicle, and stepped out in time to see Bester stride into the bay, empty handed except for the banana he was happily munching on. Wash strode in behind him glaring daggers at his back, carrying a heavy package slung over his shoulder, looking ill tempered and angry. It was a disposition so rarely seen on the pilot, that she couldn’t resist responding to it.

“Everything go alright in town?” she called as he started up the stairs toward the bridge.

“Oh yeah,” he answered turning and looking at her for the first time since she’d left him in her bunk, his voice was heavy and dripping with sarcasm. “Our mechanic, if we’re still going to insist on calling him that, ordered the wrong shielding, but aside from that … just hunky dory!” and on the last part he threw up his hand and turned away stomping up the stairs away from her.

Zoë frowned and headed toward the bridge crossing the catwalk and up the stairs into the corridor that lead to the mess. She expected him to be headed toward the bridge, but she found him there in the galley, and stopped short when she saw him shoving various things into drawers behind the counter.

“I don’t recall asking for sarcasm, Pilot,” she said calmly, but without the coldness she usually aimed for when talking to him. “So, I’d like you to explain yourself.”

He looked up at her sharply, a million emotions flitting across his face before he sighed and rubbed his forehead, looking down at the counter for a moment.

“I’m sorry, you’re right, you didn’t deserve that,” actually, inwardly, she thought she maybe did, but she kept silent. “It’s just that, no mechanic I know would forget what type of heat shielding their ship used or wouldn’t have known the engine was on the verge of full shut down. No excuse for it I can think of, except pure laziness or plain not knowin’.” Wash said, his tone growing more emphatic as he spoke.

It was Zoë’s turn to frown. “Did you talk to the Captain ‘bout this?”

“I tried a bit earlier, but … seriously Zo; I don’t think Mal will be too keen on me criticizing his choices. Serenity is his boat after all.”

“Weren’t so much choice as need that brought Bester on board.” Zoë said through a smile, ignoring his shortening of her name for the moment. “He was the first mechanic Cap brought on, didn’t laugh his ass off all the way back out again when he said her wanted her runnin’.”

“Well, I don’t know what to say about that.” Wash said. “’Cept maybe Serenity had something more to do with the getting up and going then that dai ruo mu ji back there. She’s a Firefly after all. Harder t’break then fix I hear tell.”

“Now, what about the shielding, did you straighten it out?”

“No, well yeah sorta, not really the best choice, not much of a choice at all actually, but the guy refused to take it back and let me reorder. So, I ordered the right shielding and paid for this gou shi with the cash the Captain gave me. If Mal wants, we can pick it up and pay for it in the morning, put it on and then try to sell this stuff elsewhere, which shouldn’t be too hard. It’s used on a couple a different planet jumpers I know of; or we slap this stuff on and make do until we can get the right stuff and hope we can make it fit right and don’t burn up next time we go into atmo.”

“Not much choice indeed.”

“Yeah.” He went back to putting away the items in his pack.

“What did you buy?” she asked, after a long quiet moment, coming nearer to peruse his swag. He looked up again.

“Just, uh, food type stuff… you know the usual.”

“No more of those bananas I saw Bester gnawin’ on back there?”

“You mean the banana he stole?” Wash asked trying to hide a grin, the tension broke then as he looked up at her with twinkling blue eyes. “There maybe might be. Can’t rightly remember what all I was grabbing. You know hot sun and all that? Makes me dizzy.”

“Mmm hmm,” she said reaching for the packages. He pulled them out of her reach.

“Excuse me, don’t you have first matey type stuff to be doing?” he asked over his shoulder, using his body to shield the package from her sharp eyes.

“I think you should let me see that box, Pilot,” she attempted with sternness.

“I’ll have you know, I purchased this booty with my very own ill gotten gains,” he said smacking her hand away.

Zoë laughed, surprised at how very easily she found herself falling into his humor. Hadn’t she learned her lesson? She’d stifled her laughter, and had moved to leave when he added. “And I bought the bananas for my dinosaurs; the herbivores were tired of all the protein crackers.” And she felt a ripple of laughter spill forth against her will as she went in search of the Captain.

Wash thought it was a beautiful sound.


Friday, September 9, 2005 4:19 AM


I love it, sweetie. You know I do. I love the sweetness and the tension between them.

Friday, September 9, 2005 8:59 AM


Very much enjoying this. Can't wait for the part where Bester so gets his ass kicked off the boat. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, September 9, 2005 10:32 AM


YAY YAY YAY!!! even though you can't see it, i'm jumpin' around an' doin' a lil' cheerleader dance...


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