Where the Truth Was
Sunday, January 5, 2003

Wash and Zoe confess that they love each other. And the rest is history.


Note: I welcome criticism. Also, I checked the NC-17 box because there was no R. I don' think this is porno, though.

Disclaimer: Firefly is property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy and Fox Broadcasting Corp.


Where the Truth Was

“Wash. No. I’m scared.”

He pulled his face away from Zoe’s, savoring the lingering taste of her, like vanilla and summertime. He kept his hands low though, his left holding the curve of her back, several fingers of his right hand hooked into the fly of her chinos. Getting her holster off one-handed, blindly kissing had been a trick. The pants were coming off very easily compared to that.

“Scared of what?” He tried not to sound incredulous. Earlier in the week, he’d watched her take on three men, all larger than she, all well armed. She had trounced them soundly and left them for dead. All three dead. All because she was steady, like a rock, and quick on the draw. He cooed vaguely at her and kissed her neck. She didn’t push him away, but held onto him, not letting him move much.

“Wash….” She could feel herself melting into his kisses, relaxing under his hands. Her hands betrayed her, skimming through his hair, down his chest, over his back. “You,” she paused. “We… this is going and then,” she tried desperately to catch her breath. “But we… and I….” Zoe thought that though she had never been accused of being overly articulate, this was impossible. Impossible to confess and convince all at the same time.

“Zoe, Zoe,” he sighed. “My love, my love.” The words were out of his mouth before he could think twice. Adrenaline shot through him as he realized what he’d said. It made his skin tingle and his ears burn. His heart pounded in his chest. He wondered if she could feel it. He hadn’t said that word to anyone in a long time. In such a long time.

She took his head in both her hands and said nothing, but stared. He saw the world close around her face. The dim candlelight was gone. Everything but her eyes and lips and brow and hair was black.

“Mean it,” she commanded. Her eyes were glossy with unshed tears. “If you say it, mean it.”

And all in a moment, Wash knew. Knew that his was love. This was an order of magnitude love. This was what made him take to the sky. This was the stars and all the worlds and infinity, in his arms. She was no flirt he found in a bar. No passenger on a planet-jumper, here tonight and gone tomorrow. This wasn’t yearning and untrustworthy. This he hadn’t felt since before the war and didn’t recognize it because it wasn’t what he thought love was.

He’d been wooing her for months. Joking, laughing, performing for her on the bridge, at first. Lately, kissing and stroking her at night. He wasn’t a man used to going long without a woman. There were names for what he was, words to describe his behavior. Meretricious was the most complicated he’d ever heard and he’d had to look it up. Then he laughed. Most of them were slang, spit out in waves he got from the cortex or overheard in a bar where he knew guys, other jocks. He was just being a pilot, acting as he’d been taught and copying what he’d observed. You fly around. You hit planet after planet and there was always an Alliance doll or a prairie-honey to bed in the process. He made promises when they wanted them. I’ll see you in a few weeks. Sure I’ll be back through this system soon. I’ve got it bad for you, baobei. You’re the most amazing woman I have ever met.

And here, standing with him, her legs pressed against the edge of her bunk really was the most amazing woman he had ever met.

He sank to his knees in front of her and rested his forehead on her belly, held onto her hips. His heart still pounded and his skin still tingled.

“I love you, Zoe.” He could almost feel his head crack open with the effort of comprehending what he was saying, what he was doing. He never said that word and had never meant that word. And now he meant it. And it made him vulnerable and raw. He bit his lip to keep himself from repeating it over and over, like a mantra.

Zoe slipped her fingers under the shoulders of his flight vest and hauled him up to face her. Her face had softened and he could see tiny, shiny paths that tears had made down her cheeks. She thought of the months she had spent trying not to look him in the eye. She remembered the nights she couldn’t sleep for thinking of him, on the bridge or a few bunks away and how she had chastised herself for it. Then remembered laughing more and more at his stupid jokes, laughing too loudly. Remembered stiffening unnaturally if Mal approached while she was on the bridge. Thought back to when she had gone from trying not to touch him at all or let him touch her to concocting plans to run into him, literally. And then the late nights and the long talks and he never pried too deeply. He never asked her about the war directly and never offered to tell her anything about where he was or what he did while she was bathing in the blood of Serenity Valley. After that a pat on the shoulder became a pat on the back, and it lingered. A pat on the back turned into a quick squeeze that turned into a hug that ended up kissing against the stove in the mess, her senses fighting between exploring him and staying alert to hear someone approach who would catch them.

After that first kiss, she acted differently. In front of Mal, in front of Kaylee she was still herself. On the outside she was quiet and tall and got the job done and didn’t ask many questions. On the inside she thrummed with secrets. The secrets got bigger and deeper every night, as she waited to hear Mal’s door creakslam shut before she snuck out of her own and down the corridor. They threatened to overwhelm her on a trip to Pacquin, when Mal sent her with Wash and Kaylee to round up parts while he and Jayne looked for a job. Kaylee had wandered off, lost in stacks and piles of metal that made little sense to Zoe. Then Wash had pushed her up against the rough planking of a shack in the middle of a junkyard and slipped his hand up her shirt. He made her fight with herself. And she kept that secret buried deepest of all, and rested it under her heart, with MalSerenityValleyWar.

But this wasn’t like school. Wasn’t like screwing the boys in the locker room after hours. Wasn’t like a good hump in the field, when the war was still going their way. This was serious and the gravity of her place in the story threatened to pull her under. She felt Wash’s heart thudding through his chest onto hers. And then he fell into the most earnest position she knew of: there was nothing prideful in being on your knees. On your knees is where the truth was. He sank and her heart leapt. She pulled him up to face her.

“And if I love you?” A smile threatened to smudge her concentration. But he struggled. She hadn’t had words and now neither of them had words and they were stranded, mute with longing.

“If you… then I,” Wash shut his eyes hard. When he opened them, she was still there, still cheshire. “I love you and will never love anything but you.”

“I love you, too.” She said it. And she watched relief break across his face. The high color in his cheeks calmed. His eyes, so vividly blue, rolled back a little and he clutched her tightly.

She unzipped his vest and then his flight suit and pushed them both off in one motion. He ripped open the few buttons left secure on her shirt and used both hands to finish the job he’d started on her pants. She leaned back and pulled him down on top of her, onto her bunk and the rest of their clothes found their own ways off. She savored his smell and the comfort of his weight on her body.

He was delirious, aching to take her. He kissed down her neck to her chest, drunk on the smell of her, relishing the contrast of his skin against hers. And then she accepted him and time stopped.

And later, Wash and Zoe lay in guttering candlelight, warm and as happy as either had ever, ever been.

“Tomorrow?” he asked. He didn’t have to elaborate. He breathed warmly on the back of her neck and stroked her arm. He kept her pulled tight to him, something precious.

“Tomorrow,” she repeated and sighed. The ship hummed around them. “Tomorrow we don’t have anything to worry about. We don’t have anything to hide.”

“I love you,” he said.

“I love you,” she said.

And they slept, content, on Serenity.


Sunday, January 5, 2003 1:19 PM


*grins* You just MADE my day! Please write more about Wash and Zoe! There's far too little fanfic about them out there, and I do adore them so! :)

Sunday, January 5, 2003 3:46 PM


Thank you. That's all i can say. Thank you.

Sunday, January 5, 2003 3:58 PM


I'm going to have to agree with Melee on this. there is far too little wash and zoe fanfiction and beyond just having written something, you've written something good. thanks. and of course, write more.

Monday, January 6, 2003 9:30 AM


This is a gorgeous piece. I agree with the others, there are far too few stories with Zoe and Wash, which is sad because they have one of the most complex relationships in the show. You do an especially wonderful job with Zoe, showing her toughness and vulnerability all mixed together, just like the real thing. And I laughed when I had to look up 'meretricious'. The only objection I can think of is that the title doesn't feel right, somehow. I'd love to see more fic from you.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003 6:32 PM


ya know...i usually avoid fanfic like the plague, but this was really quite nice.
i vote for more zoe/wash...and zoe/mal fan fic. there's some history there as well. i mean, in "war stories" when mal tells wash that one of the orders zoe disobeyed was not to marry wash, was that for real or just mal talkin' shit to keep wash pre-occupied for the coming troubles with mishka?
: )

Saturday, January 25, 2003 6:44 PM


Shiny. There does need to be more Wash/Zoe ficage. Seems there a hell of a lot concerning Simon and Kaylee, or Mal and Kaylee... I can't complain 'cause I'm a sucker for any story featuring our Strawberry Girl. But it's refreshing to find a good 'un all about our Wacky Hawaiian Shirt Guy and his Warrior Woman.

Wednesday, February 5, 2003 11:38 PM


*sigh* you made me very happy. I am a sucker for Zoe/Wash. You are a wonderful writer, and quite frankly you are turning me into an insomniac. Gotta get some sleep, keep on writing so I'll have more great fanfics to look forward for tomorrow:)

Friday, March 26, 2004 7:04 PM


Wonderful, very romantic.... I'm staying up too late reading fan fic, but I can't get enough of Zoe & Wash! Thank you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2004 6:58 PM


Very well done. As to the question of the dirth of Zoë/Wash fanfic it may be because they are considered "a done deal". Nonetheless, more tales of the two by you Sarahetc are definitely a necessity.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004 10:04 AM


I'm trying to wipe the silly, sappy smile off my face long enough to type this.

Oh...I LOVE WASH AND ZOE! Fanfics like this keep Serenity flying!

Friday, December 3, 2004 12:11 AM


Good stuff.

Solid work.

Keep flyin'

Saturday, August 27, 2005 1:06 PM


*sniff* aah, this i like *smiles and discreetly wipes tear from eye*


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I ain't sayin' there's any peace to be had, but if there is, Wash will find it in the Western sky.

Married and Madly in Love
In the aftermath of Saffron, Wash and Zoe talk marriage, stars, and geese.

Consistent Resurrection
A short history of Zoe.

First Mate
Wash is injured-- physically, and by Zoe's reluctance to make him her first priority.

Laid Bare
Ever wonder what happened to that ambulance? A little bridge between Ariel and War Stories.

Natural Talent
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Over and Over and Over
Moments of Zoe, in the spaces of War Stories.

Extreme Unction
The living heart of Serenity bleeds to death. A volley at Succatash.

The Heart of Her
Wash proposes.

Mood to Burn Bridges
Mal's original edict on shipboard romances