Time To Go
Saturday, May 24, 2003

A beginning for Wash.


I decided to have a little fun with Wash's given name as listed on IMDB (apologies to Sarahetc). This is my first fanfic, comments are welcome, but please be gentle.

Disclaimer: All characters property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Thanks for the loan.


Mack finished counting the whiskey bottles in the case, all there, minus the customs seals and Alliance tax stamps of course. He paused for a moment, overcome by a painful fit of coughing. Gorram Factories, Gorram lungs.

As he moved on to the next case, his mind wandered to the boy. Seventeen years old, smart as a whip, more'n a little wild, and bored. All in all, it was a dangerous combination. Why just last week, the local deputy had almost caught him drag racing out on Canyon road. It was harmless fun, sure, but who knew what he would get himself into next, when drag racing wasn't enough thrill.


"Gorram dust and smog." Jerry Lee cursed to himself as he pulled out the blackened air filter. This was the third time in a month that a clogged filter had grounded his pride and joy, a Z750 Wallace Aircar. Of course, he figured it was worth a clogged air filter just to get the satisfaction of leaving Zach Johnson eating his dust out on Canyon road. Jerry Lee grinned at the memory, it had been a great race, and with the latest mods he'd made to the 'car, Zach hadn't stood a chance. Neither had Deputy Harkness, for that matter, who'd wanted to write him up for racing but had to catch him first.

He cleaned and replaced the filter and fired her up. A couple of coughs and stutters to work the dirt out of her systems and the engine settled down nicely. Man he loved this 'car. Not very pretty to look at, sure, but he had the engines running smooth as glass, and she could do quite a few things now that she hadn't been able to do the day she flew out the factory door. He flew out of the shed and headed down to the warehouse to meet his grandfather for the evening run. Maybe he'd pick up Sara Beth for a ride after he was done. He smiled, now there was a pretty thought. Sara Beth was pretty, smart, and had legs that went on for miles. They'd been dancing around each other for a couple of weeks now, and it was just about time for them to catch each other. He took the next corner fast and tested out the response. Shiny.


Mack sealed up the last case of whiskey just as the aircar screeched to halt in the warehouse. He looked up as Jerry Lee bounded out of the car with his usual overabundance of energy. Jerry Lee still looked so young to Mack, all lean and gangly, topped with shock of blond hair stickin' out every which way, and looking so much like his little Mary with that easy smile on his face.

"Hey Gramps, you should see how the car handles with the latest mods I made to the drive systems, she'll turn on a dime now, no shimmy at all." He bounced up and down on the balls of his feet. "The run all ready to go?"

"That it is Jerry Lee, that it is." "Aw Gramps, I told you to call me Wash." "Jerry Lee's been good enough for the past Seventeen years, I don't see any reason to change now. 'Specially to some idiotic name like Wash."

Jerry Lee laughed, unoffended at the familiar response, and loaded the whiskey into the 'car. "I'll drop this down at the docks and be back at the house in an hour."

"See that you come right home, the Law's been sniffin' around, and I don't want to be worryin'."

"Sure thing Gramps". He'd check back in with Gramps, and then pick up Sara Beth. His mind still on a pretty girl, he hopped back into the 'car and sped off.

Mack watched him go, shaking his head. Jerry Lee was a good boy, even if he was a little wild. Lord knows how he pulled straight A's in school when it seemed he skipped more classes than he went to. He locked up the warehouse and headed over to Jackson's. He had one more meeting tonight before he sat down with Jerry Lee.


Jerry Lee stepped into the house to find his grandfather sitting at the kitchen table. He tossed the cash on the table and headed to the cooler for a snack. "Everything went fine, just like always. Wiley talked about doubling his order the next time, said this latest batch was selling really well." He emerged from the cooler with an apple in his hand.

"That's good to hear Jerry Lee, but that can wait. Sit down son, I got something to talk with you on."

"What's up Gramps?" His easy smile dimmed as he saw the serious expression on Mack's face. "Everything's okay, ain't it?". He took a seat across from his grandfather, worry clouding his blue eyes, the apple already forgotten in his hand.

"Everything's fine," Mack assured him but he paused a long while before continuing, long enough for the worry to edge towards panic. Finally, he said, "You never really knew your momma before the lung sickness took her, but she wanted more for you than what she had, than what any of us had." Mack had to force himself to keep going, to get the words out that were so hard to say. "It's been just you and me for a long while now, but I'm gettin' old. My lungs ain't doin' so good neither, what with all that crap them factories spew up in the air." He paused as a coughing fit overtook him, giving truth to his words. "It's time for you to make your own way son. Get off this rock and find somethin' better to do with your life than smugglin' shine and breathin' bad air."

Jerry Lee just stared at him, dumbfounded. This talk was not anything he expected to hear tonight, or ever for that matter. "What are you saying Gramps? What else would I do? Where would I go? This is home."

Mack pushed a set of papers across the table to Jerry Lee. "That there's a ticket off planet, to Quicksilver. They got a school there, a real good one where you can learn how to fly them ships you're always moonin' over. The entrance fee's all paid, and I set up an account for you with that tuition money you'll need. Everything's in that there pile."

Jerry Lee opened his mouth to say something, anything, but nothing came out. He grasped at the swirl of thoughts in his head and was finally able to latch on to something. "Gramps, I don't understand, where'd you get the money for that?"

"I've been savin' for a while now, and I sold the business, lock, stock and still, to Jackson. Even sold him the worm." There, it was out, the hardest part.

He might as well have announced he'd become a fed, such was the impossibility of what he was saying. To Jerry Lee, it felt like the very foundation of his world was crumbling around him. "You sold it?" His voice rising in pitch. "You've always said you'd never sell." He accused, his jaw set at a stubborn angle.

"Well, times change. It's gettin' harder to avoid the feds, the bribes are gettin' more expensive, and I just don't have the energy for it anymore. In truth, it's kind of a relief. Jackson's given me a job runnin' one of his taverns. That'll do me well enough to get by."

Mack almost felt sorry for the boy sitting across from him. You always could tell everything Jerry Lee was thinking, just by looking at him, and it was all there now, for anyone to see. Hurt, uncertainty, confusion, sadness, fear. But underneath it all, there was a glimmer of excitement for something he hadn't ever expected.

"I could've run the business, hell, I know it all." Now a small pout on his face as he looked down at the table.

"Aw, I know you could do it, and do it well. But we both know runnin' a still ain't what you want to be doing. I seen the books in your room. I know how much time you spend down at the docks watchin' them ships take off. Look at me." Jerry Lee jerked his head up at his grandfather's suddenly fierce tone. His eyes bored into Jerry Lee's. "You're smart boy, tho' Lord knows where you got it from. You can be up there. You belong up there."

A knot formed in his stomach as he struggled wrap his head around what his grandfather was saying. He looked down at the papers. Flight school, something he'd hadn't dare dream about, because it was so far out of reach. Jerry Lee reached out for the ticket, but snatched his hand back, not daring to test the dream.

Finally he looked up, still trying to digest this turn of events, his eyes bright with unshed tears. "But what about you, Gramps? Who'll take care of you, if I'm not around?"

Mack smiled and patted Jerry Lee's hand, his tone gentle. "I'm old son, and we both know my lungs ain't much longer for this world." Jerry Lee opened his mouth to protest, but Mack continued on. "It's time for you to make your own way. You've got a good head on your shoulders, you use it and do me and your momma proud." Mack pushed himself away from the table. "Now, that ship leaves tomorrow, so you best get your rest and pack up your things."

He headed off to his room. As he sat down on the bed, and picked up the picture of his girl Mary from the table by the bed. "It's done Mary, you look after him now."


Jerry Lee said goodbye to his grandfather and entered the spaceport. He'd never been inside the fence before, always just on the outside looking in, wanting something he could never have. Except now it looked like he was going to have it after all. As he walked towards his transport, the excitement he'd been afraid to acknowledge bubbled up inside, adding a bounce to his step and a grin to his face. As he handed over his ticket, the mate welcomed him aboard. "What's your name son?"

"Wash," he replied, "Call me Wash."


Sunday, May 25, 2003 12:16 AM


Wash as a young bootlegger... I love it. I have a whole new respect for him after finding out he was in the family business like that.

(I once ran a load of liquor into Kentucky. Legally and with all the permits. On the interstate instead of the back roads. Half my family's never spoken to me since.)

Very nice, and it gives a good insight into Wash's history and youthful inclinations.


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Time To Go
A beginning for Wash.