How I Soar Chapter 9
Wednesday, December 28, 2005

An AU in which Zoe sacrifices her life for Wash... and he must learn to move on.


"I have never seen anything so precious in my life," Inara smiled, touching Kate's arm gently.

"Should we wake them?" River asked, peering into the common area.

"Lemme take some caps," Kaylee said. "Then we can wake 'em."

"Does Jayne frequently wear make-up?" Kate asked, trying to suppress the giggle bubbling up inside her at the sight of the big mercenary, his face smeared with crimson lipstick, curled protectively around her sleeping daughter. Hannah's face was also covered with the stuff. "It suits him."

"What are we looking at?" Wash asked, approaching the cluster of women.

"See for yourself," Kaylee grinned. "I'm gonna go get the capturer."

"Huh." Wash said. "I always pictured Jayne as more of a winter."

"Traffic jam?" Mal asked.

"Ssh!" Inara and Kate ordered.

"Look," River instructed.

"I'll be," Mal chuckled. "That li'l girl o' yours is quite the charmer, Kate."

"She is at that," Wash agreed. "Though I didn't think anyone but River could charm the big guy."

Kaylee returned quickly with the capturer and took several caps. "Okay, River, wake 'em if you must."

"I don't know," Kate said. "They both could probably use the nap. Let's leave them be."


"Kaylee, have you been in the -" Simon began.

"Common room?" she asked, dicing an onion. "Yep."

"So I wasn't imagining -"

"Jayne, with make-up an' a sleepin' baby? Nope."

"Huh." Simon said lamely.


"That's our hard-earned coin," Mal grumbled. "'Tween you givin' it away to the Haven widows, and Kaylee spendin' all my money doin' up Christmas, we're gonna wind up poorer'n we were before!"

"Those poor people lost their families!" Inara insisted.

"We lost some of our own, too, remember?" Mal snapped. "They ain't the only ones hurtin'."

"I know you miss Zoe," Inara continued. "We all do -"

"Then how 'bout you give some o' that coin to Wash?" Mal demanded. "If it's about payin' people off so we don't gotta feel guilty, gotta do it fair-like. If it's about charity, how 'bout turnin' some o' that charity in on the folk makin' Serenity home? River ain't got proper clothes that fit her, Simon ain't got nothin' decent to work in. Kaylee's gonna need pregnant-lady clothes soon, and there's baby things need buyin'. Kate couldn't even feed li'l Hannah 'fore we took 'em in."

Inara was silent a moment. "I just..."

"Wanted to buy absolution?" Mal finished. "It don't work that way. People like us, good folk, carry guilt ain't ours to carry. Weren't our faults, ain't our cross to bear, but there it is. The people who ain't feelin' guilty? Them's the ones as ought to."

Inara sighed. "We split it eight ways, then."

"Sounds fair," Mal agreed. "I won't ask what you're doin' with your share."


"It just hit me," Wash said sadly, handing the crumpled red velvet jacket to Kate. "It's gonna be my first Christmas without Zoe."

"Ain't easy," Kate sympathized. "Kaylee? The medium's too tight; we need a large," she called.

"Are you calling me fat?" Wash teased.

"If you were fat," Kate told him, passing the suit over the changing room door to her cousin, "we wouldn't have to spend the extra coin for the stuffing."

Wash watched her with amusement. "Doesn't it bother you to be in a tiny changing room with a near-stranger in his underpants?"

"Long as I ain't the one in your underpants," she grinned, "ain't nothin' to be bothered by." She opened the door a crack. "Kaylee? Ma shong, we don't have all day."

"No large left," Kaylee frowned. "There's an XL tall."

"That won't work," Kate frowned. "Hmm."

"So I was thinking," Wash said. "What if Hannah's scared of Santa and wants her Dada? I was terrified of the fat old bastard when I was her size."

Kate peered at him. "Are you trying to get out of Santa duty?"

"No," he replied honestly. "If I was going to do that, it would have been before the five hours of carrying your shopping back and forth to the mule."

Kate eyed him with mock suspicion. "Okay. You're probably right, anyhow. Kaylee?"


"Get the XL tall. Jayne's gonna be our jolly old elf."

"Yay! River clapped, inspecting a Santa's Helper costume bound to land her on the Naughty list. "He'll make a very sexy Santa."

"She's just ruined Christmas for me," Kate whispered to Wash. "Put your clothes on. River, honey?" She wrinkled her nose. "Sexy and Santa go together... never. Absolutely never, River."

Kaylee giggled. "You didn't thi-"

"Not a word out of you, Mrs. Tam," Kate warned, "or I break out my collection of Naked Kaylee stories at dinner tonight."

Wash laughed, stepping into his pants. "Are there a lot?"

"Wouldn't be much of a threat if there weren't," she winked.


Mal groaned when he saw the heavily-laden mule approach the ship. The girls were practically in eachother's laps because their shopping took up so much of the available space. "Just tell me this," he begged Wash. "Do I have any money left at all?"

Kaylee grinned. "'Course you do, Cap'n."

"Wasn't asking you," Mal muttered. "Wash? Can I fuel up before we leave this rock?"

"We didn't touch your money, Mal," Wash said, handing him the sack of coins. "The girls did this all with their cuts from the job."

"You bought all this without touchin' my coin?" Mal said, giving the mule an appraising look. "I'm payin' you girls too much."

"What price, freedom?" Kate smirked. "Next time I have you tied up in front of me, I'll be sure to renegotiate my wage before I cut you loose."


"C'mon, Simon, we're blood brothers," Jayne wheedled. "I ain't been with River since I got hit; I gotta live vi-cariously through someone, an' the temper Mal's in I'm fair sure he ain't gettin' any."

Simon glared at him. "I refuse to share intimate details about my relationship with my wife, and I'd appreciate you giving my sister the same consideration," he frowned.

"Thought so," Jayne chuckled. "She ain't let ya touch her since ya knocked her up, huh?"

"No! I mean yes! I mean, we -" Simon paused. "I'm not discussing this with you."

Jayne pouted, but his eyes lit up when Wash walked into the infirmary. "How 'bout you? You gotta be sexin' up Kaylee's hot li'l cousin, right?"

Wash looked baffled. "Kate?" He frowned in thought. "Why? You think she likes me?"

"She did tell Kaylee she thought you were cute," Simon put in. "What do you need?"

"Hannah bumped her knee. She's in hysterics, so I told her I'd come get a bandage." Wash grinned. "She thinks I'm cute?"

"Her baby calls you Daddy," Jayne pointed out. "Most folk would assume you was already involved."

"Maybe they're not looking to become involved," Simon told him. "After all, they've both suffered a loss. Perhaps that's the reason for their connection. That, and the fact that her daughter has adopted him."

"Huh." Wash muttered, grabbing a small bandage. "I'll see you guys later, okay? I have to go test something."

"He just gets odder as the days go by," Jayne smirked. "Don't wonder, spendin' all that time with the womenfolk - ain't a single one of them got a sane bone in their body. 'Specially the little one."


"There you go, Hannah. All better?"

"Dada kiss?"

Wash grinned and leaned over to kiss the little girl's bandaged knee. "Now?"

"All better," she chirped, sliding out of his chair and giving him a big hug.

"Next time Daddy's gonna make sure he ties your shoelaces better before you show him your new dance," he chuckled.

"You're so good with her," Kate marvelled. "Michael never knew what to do with her. He was scared to change her diaper, thought she'd break or something." Before she knew what was happening, Wash kissed her. When he pulled back, she looked very angry.

"What?" he asked. "What's wrong?"

"I'm not Zoe," she hissed. "And I won't pretend to be." Before he could protest, she was gone.

The Mandarin: ma shong - hurry; on the double; stat


Wednesday, December 28, 2005 7:11 PM


Sexy Santa. very disturbing.

Saturday, December 31, 2005 5:58 AM


LOL agree on disturbing!

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 8:48 AM


agree with jayne being sexy...kinda. but sexy santa? ACK!!! VERY WRONG IMAGES!!!!



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