Bedtime Stories
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Set fifteen years post-bdm, but about pre-series Zoe n Wash. I'm not sure if this is very good and would really appreciate feedback.


Serenity juddered sending Mal stumbling across the cargo bay. Grabbing hold of the stair’s banister, he steadied himself, a frown creasing his brow. Striding over to the comm., he hit it with maybe more venom than was necessary. “River?” he yelled. “River? You crashin’ my ship again?”

River wandered leisurely up to the Captain, her hands clasped behind her back. “No.”

Mal’s eyes were wide for a moment, before his face fell into a glower of realisation. “Seph!”

There was a silence in which River played with her hair, gazing up towards the bridge. Then came a crackling and a sweet voice replied, “Yes, Captain.”

“Where are-” Before Mal could finish, he was thrown away from the comm. system by a violent shudder.

“Might not be the best time for a chat!” came a close to hysterical reply.

Mal was already halfway up the stairs.


“This is not a laughing matter, young lady!”

“Oh, Captain, you’re turning into such a grouch!” Sephora smiled.

“This is the last time you hurt Serenity. You are not allowed to sail her until you are eighteen. Taking the shuttle with Inara is one thing, but-”

Sephora’s mouth fell open, her eyes contorted into a frown. “I got her down didn’t I?!”

“Without most her parts left!”

Sephora gasped in reply. “That wasn’t my fault! The couplings on the grav boot must be shot. The front nav sensor fell off before I took over! You wouldn’t have been able to land it at all!” The young girl’s large dark eyes were flashing dangerously in the light of the mess.

“That’s not the point! You’re a child! You are not flying my ship!”

Sephora glared heatedly at Mal for a moment, trying to muster a response. Finally, she stamped one of her small feet. “You suck!” She turned on her heel, flicking her mass of coffee curls behind her.

Mal sighed, hearing the stomp of every rung beneath Seph’s booted feet.


Zoë slid the door of her daughter’s room quietly open. Sephora was flounced on her bed, head in pillow, her dress sprawled across the bedclothes. “Seph honey?”

She turned to face the wall.

Zoë sighed, sitting at a chair next to the bed. “You’re only fourteen. The Captain was only looking out for you. He doesn’t want you to get hurt.”

“No,” Sephora muttered, “He doesn’t want Serenity to get hurt. He doesn’t give half a hump about me.”

“You know that ain’t true.”

“Then why won’t he let me fly?” She spun to face her Mother, her gaze pleading. “River trusts me. She told me I was a ‘beautiful bird’.”

Zoë smiled, tucking a strand of Sephora’s wild hair behind her ear. “You are, my baby.”

Sephora grinned momentarily.

“But you’re young and flying is dangerous…”

Sephora’s smile turned stale. “I almost forgot you agreed with him. Why don’t you want me to fly? You never even wanted Inara to teach me. It’s not fair!”

“Zo?” Mal’s head was peering around the door. “We gotta go, let’s move.”

Sephora glared at the space that the Captain had just left before turning back over on the bed. “Fine. Go.”


Zoë didn’t see her again until she was tucking her into bed.

“Mummy? Will you tell me why you don’t like me flying?”

Zoë looked down at her daughter’s large eyes that were peering out from beneath the covers. Almost since she could talk Sephora had asked about her Father. Wash. The thought of him was still almost too painful to bear. It had been fifteen years, but she sometimes still woke expecting him to be beside her. But another thought plagued Zoë now. What if Sephora never knew? She could put it off every night and eventually Seph would never be able to find out what her Father had been.

Zoë took a deep breath. “Your Father was a pilot.”

“My Dad?” A frown creased Sephora’s brow as she took this information in. “My Dad.” She gazed up at her Mother. “Did he ever sail a Magpie?”

“He sailed Serenity. He was the pilot before River.”

Seph was silent, staring up at her ceiling. Finally she turned again to her Mother. “Is that how he died, flying Serenity?”

Zoë paused for a moment before nodding.

Sephora regarded her Mother. “You loved him, didn't you?”

Zoë nodded again. She could tell all the questions that were buzzing around her daughter’s brain, all the questions she had never answered.

“Was it love at first sight?” Sephora asked eventually, smiling. “Did he come on a horse and rescue you from a tower?”

Zoë thought fondly back to their first meeting. Love at first sight? She almost laughed. “I suppose he rescued me… But there wasn’t a tower involved.”

“Will you tell me?”

Zoë was thoughtful for a moment. “It was long ago. I remember I was angry that day. We had been stuck on Beaumonde looking for a pilot for weeks. I saw him snooping around. I asked his business and he said he was looking to speak to the Captain. Thinking he was suspicious, I… frisked him.”

“You frisked him?” Sephora looked appalled. “Mum!”

“Of course he didn’t have a gun. ‘Do this to all the guys?’ he asked smarmily. I glared before letting him aboard.”

“That’s not very romantic,” Sephora interrupted.

“I thought you wanted to hear this story.”

“What did he look like?”

“Well, I have some captures… somewhere.” Zoë knew exactly where they were, beneath their bed, in that box. “He had blonde hair and blue eyes and when I first met him… a moustache.”

Sephora pulled a face. “He sounds amazing.”

Zoë was quiet. He was.

“How did he propose?”

“I…” Zoë paused, calculating an appropriate answer. “I don’t remember.”

“Liar. Tell me!” Sephora pouted.

“It was a long time ago, I don’t know if…”

“Tell me!”

Zoë rolled her eyes slightly. “It was after we’d been… seeing each other… for a few months. He just said he loved me and wanted to marry me. I said I would.” Zoë could still feel the heat him, the breathlessness of his voice, deep, near next to her ear, his hands hot on her back. I love you. She had smiled against his lips, pulling him closer. Marry me.

“Mum, what was he like?”

“Well, funny, kind, laid back, brave…”

“Am I like him?”

Zoë looked down at her daughter. “You’ve defiantly inherited an innate urge to fly. He’d be… very proud.”

Sephora beamed, stifling a yawn. “Mummy, I think I would like to hear your story. Tell me how you fell in love.”

Zoë tucked a stray curl behind Seph’s ear. “Maybe tomorrow night.”

Sephora yawned again, her eyes slipping closed. “Alright…”


A few hours later Zoë sat in her bunk alone.

“Are you alright?”

She glanced up in surprise. Had he knocked? “I’m fine.”

“You didn’t seem fine.” Wash stepped down the last rung and slowly made his way towards her. “If you need comfort I’m ready. I’ll be able to take it, trust me.”

Zoë smiled, turning away, but she could feel sadness rising in her throat. “I’m fine.” A part of her wanted him to comfort her, a part of her wanted to feel his arms wrapped around her, the part she had been suppressing since the day they had met.

“Yes, because that’s your happy face.”

Zoë turned back towards him, her eyes pleading, to leave or to come closer? “I don’t-” She couldn’t continue.

Wash sat next to her, one of his strong arms wrapped tight around her shoulders. She froze momentarily at this almost unexpected contact before relaxing into his hold, allowing her tears to fall silently onto his shoulder. With his free hand, Wash gently stroked her hair. “I’m sorry. I know what it’s like, losing a friend.” She loved the smell of him. Her hands came to rest around his neck, unexpectedly wanting to feel him closer.

A moment later and Zoë looked up at him, her cheeks glazed with tears. They were so near she could almost feel his breath on her skin. She felt herself almost swell towards him. He glanced down to her lips then back up to her dark eyes. She no longer thought of anything, nothing but Wash. She closed her eyes.

Abruptly, Wash loosened his grip. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to, I didn’t mean to…” He glanced back to her. “I thought we’d agreed that kissing was probably a bad idea.”

Zoë nodded. “We had agreed that.”

“Yes,” Wash said, taking her hands in his own, his eyes still locked with hers. “And going back on agreements is a bad…” Zoë snaked one hand back around his neck. “…a bad thing to do… We defiantly shouldn’t.” She smiled slightly, pulling him tenderly closer. “It just wouldn’t be… morally…”

They kissed.

In the morning Zoë remembered the dream, the memory. She remembered the soft touch of Wash’s lips against hers and for the first time it wasn’t accompanied by the stab of pain. That evening she began the story again. Not all of it was romantic, and most of it wasn’t appropriate, but she owed it, to Seph, to Wash.

The End


Tuesday, September 12, 2006 11:48 AM


I can't believe fifteen years went by after losing Wash and Zoe didn't tell their daughter about him. And Seph may love to fly but she still has to learn how to be a leaf on the wind, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 2:29 PM


That was real shiny! I really thought that was really sweet, I felt like crying at the end, almost did, and i'm not one for crying. I love their daughter, gonna write more stories about her? I'd like to read them.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 3:06 PM


you always write great zoe & wash stuff.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 5:31 PM


you have a wonderful talent for getting the phrasing right on Wash and was beautiful!

Saturday, September 16, 2006 3:37 PM


Gotta agree with Alison...15 years is a bit much for Zoe (or the rest of the crew) to say nothing about Wash to his daughter. Seems a might...coincidental;) do write Zoe & Wash moments oh so well, Sofi. Just glad you like to share:D


Saturday, September 16, 2006 4:05 PM


Just went digging through your archive and read almost every fic, including this one. Consider me hooked. :)


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Bedtime Stories
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