How I Soar Chapter 11
Thursday, December 29, 2005

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


"I ain't goin' out there," Jayne grumbled. "No way, no how."

"Please?" River asked, batting her eyes. "If you're good, later we can try my costume."

"That ain't fair."

"All's fair in love and war," River smiled. "You're going to make a little girl's Christmas."

Jayne sighed in resignation. "Li'l hellion what painted my face with lipstick," he muttered, eyeing the white beard and wig.

"She loves her Uncle Jayne and you know it." River smirked. "Come on, they're waiting."


Jayne made a very tall, slightly menacing St. Nick. Even with a pillow stuffed into his costume - Kate had decided not to spend the extra coin on ths stuffing after all - he was broad and muscular and just not fat. Hannah couldn't have cared less. He had the red suit, the white beard and wig, the hat, the whole shebang. As far as she was concerned, he was Santa. She didn't even notice Uncle Jayne's absence.

"Ho, ho, ho," Jayne said unenthusiastically, earning a sharp glare from each of the women on the ship, and Mal, if he wasn't mistaken. "Merry Christmas, li'l Hannah. What can Santa bring ya this year?"

Hannah began to list off the words she knew for the things she could see around her. "Kitten," she finished. "Hannah want kitten."

"Er..." Jayne hesitated. "I'll uh... Santa... will... see what he can do?" He looked at Wash pleadingly.

"Santa may not be able to get a kitten in through the airlock, sweetie," Wash told her.

"Hannah want kitten," she told him. "Kitten."

Wash looked helpless. "I... Hannah..."

"Santa's gonna get you that kitten," Mal said, finally. "Don't you fret none, munchkin. Wash, we're on schedule for Persephone, yes?"

"Yeah. Why?"

"I gotta see a man about a cat." He left the common area, probably to avoid comment.

"Okay, honey, Santa has a lot of other little boys and girls to visit before the big night, right Santa?" Kate prompted, allowing Jayne an escape.

"Right," Jayne answered. Hannah was getting very excited, and was bouncing in his lap. "Ho, ho - ow! Liou coe shuai du biao-tze huh hoe-tze duh ur-tze! Gorram it, girl, my stomach!"

Then that bottom lip started to quiver.

"Aw, hell," Jayne sighed. "Don't cry, li'l Hannah. Santa's okay. See? Happy? Okay?" To Simon he whispered, "Doc, I think she ruptured somethin'."

"He's hemorrhaging," Simon said, startled.

Hannah was wailing and reaching out for her Daddy. "Dada, San-ta, San-ta!" she sobbed.

"Santa's okay, sweetie," Kate soothed. "Really, he's fine."

"Come on, baby girl," Wash suggested. "Let's go fly Serenity, huh? Come on." They took the hysterical toddler in one direction while Simon and River guided Jayne in another.

"We can't do anything normally," Inara commented.

"We ain't normal," Kaylee grinned. "If we was, we wouldn't be here."


"Damage report?" Mal sighed.

"How did you -" Inara asked. "I know you couldn't have heard me approach."

"Saw your reflection," he replied. "Hannah okay?"

"She may be traumatized for life, but I think she would have been traumatized by something on this ship sooner or later." Inara laughed softly. "Jayne's off with River, letting her play nurse. Or, elf, I believe. I can't believe she bought that costume."

"Let's put that on the list of things I don't wanna know about, shall we? Okay. What?"

Inara's smile was widening. "You're going to break your own rule, to see a little girl smile on Christmas morning."

"I am? Which one was that again?" He looked mildly confused, as though he was listing rules in his head.

"No animals on board?" She smirked.

"Right, that one." Mal shrugged. "Ain't one of the important ones. A little girl should have a kitten," he smiled faintly.

"You're a sweet man," Inara said, leaning in to kiss him.

"Mm," He smiled. "No, I'm not. I'm always tellin' you girls, I'm a mean old man."

"You don't fool me." Inara told him, kissing his jaw, then his ear.

"Ain't tryin' to, no more."


"Damn it, woman," Jayne muttered. "Why you gotta be so sneaky 'bout things? Shoulda known there was a reason ya decided to gimme my bribe before I done the deed."

"Not sneaky," River smiled. "Just practical. I knew once you split your stitches you wouldn't be able to properly enjoy my costume. But if I'd warned you about the injury, you wouldn't have played Santa for Hannah."

"Poor kid's scared to death o' the ol' fat man now," Jayne pointed out. "Woulda been better off without a Santa."

"The captain's getting her a kitten," River countered. "That was Santa's influence."

"Why don't you put that cute li'l outfit you got me for Christmas back on..."

"Jayne!" River admonished. "I'm not contributing to the detriment of your health. Go to bed."


"She's sleeping," Wash told Kate. "You okay?"

"She wouldn't let me near her," she replied. "She didn't want me, she wanted you."

"I'm the Daddy. We're known for our protection skills, real or imagined." Wash nudged her with his elbow. "Besides, she's had her fill of you. I'm new and therefore far more interesting."

Kate shot him a watery glare.

"Are you crying?"

"No." she sniffled. "Yes."

"Come on, I was teasing. She loves you, she always has and always will. You're the one constant in her life," he comforted her. "I'm not replacing you. Your shoes are... well, they're pretty small, in reality, but metaphorically they're very hard to fill." He wrapped her in a hug and kissed the top of her head. "You're a great mom, you know that, right?"

Kate snorted. "I might believe that if I hadn't just been completely snubbed in favor of a relative stranger."

"The stranger you're now allowing to hold you." He reminded her.

"I have always relied on the kindness of strangers," she drawled, snuggling against him and chuckling softly. "It just hurts to see her go to someone... not me."

"That just means you've succeeded in giving her a home where she feels safe without you right by her side," Wash smiled. "You're doing a good job with her, but you two aren't alone anymore, remember that. She's gonna form bonds with her aunts and uncles you might not always get. Like with Jayne and the make-up - I'm still not over that. Kaylee is a genius for taking caps. It's smooth sailing, really, until she's old enough to ask Auntie Inara about sex. Then, we worry."


"Yeah," Wash said. "I mean, I am the Daddy, after all. That's not a job you can resign from, or take a vacation or a sabattical or such. And... I'm not sure I'd want to, anyhow. Hannah - and her mom - they're kinda part of me now."

"You're still hugging me."


"And you're getting mushy."


"Are you going to kiss me again?"

"I was thinking about it."

"Maybe you should sleep on it." Kate pulled back. She kissed his nose affectionately. "Goodnight."

Wash was alone in the corridor. "Huh," he said. "Women really are insane."

"I heard that," Kate said from the other side of her door. "Go to bed."

The Mandarin: Liou coe shuai du biao-tze huh hoe-tze duh ur-tze! - Salivating son of a bitch and a monkey!


Thursday, December 29, 2005 4:42 PM


The mandarin was great and jayne as santa was classic.

Saturday, December 31, 2005 9:35 AM


"We ain't normal," Kaylee grinned. "If we was, we wouldn't be here."


Wednesday, January 4, 2006 10:36 AM


"Jayne! I'm not contributing to the detriment of your health. Go to bed."

hee!!! love it!!!! and hannah shouldn't worry, santy's not all that bad. it's the reindeer you should be worried about.



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