Running River: Act I
Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Wash is thinking up baby names. While Jayne and Mal get a job, Kaylee persuades Zoe to come shopping and Simon to let River come too. Unfortunately, all is not as safe as they might have thought...


note: it would probably be best to read the teaser first! this can be found at

i have all the characters (cos i cant bear not to) and it doesnt take place at any particular time in the series or bdm... oh and zoes pregnant =D


“How about ‘Juliet,” Wash suggested, only half concentrating on the landing of Serenity. He had been proposing names all morning. It had started with one he really liked, ‘Amaya’, but they had become gradually less serious.

“Hm… no.” Zoë didn’t even look up. It was impossible to imagine any of these names on their child.


“Hell, no!” Mal answered, stepping onto the bridge as they landed, smoothly despite Wash’s distracted mind. “Zoë, Kaylee wants a word. She didn’t say what about. Wash, go and prep the mule.”

Flicking the three switches above his head, Wash rested the helm and turned to help Zoë get to her feet, knowing she didn’t want him to.

“Wash. Go,” Mal commanded, seeing a flicker of frustration pass over Zoë’s eyes. “She can manage on her own.”

Wash looked from Zoë to Mal and back again before scooting off the bridge. Mal was right of course and he knew that Zoë would hate to slow down what had to be done. Still, he liked being able to help Zoë, liked to hope she needed his help.

Zoë laboured to her feet and then walked determinedly after her husband. Mal followed her.

After and awkwardly silent moment, he spoke. “So, how long now?” His voice was conversational, but he rarely mentioned the baby if it could be helped, so Zoë looked at him oddly.

“Still got 4 months, Sir.”


They fell back into silence. Zoë knew that Mal was trying to be supportive and it meant a lot to her. Still, she also knew he did not fancy the idea of a small child running around his ship.

“Wish she’d hurry up,” he muttered as they climbed the stairs down to the cargo bay, “I could do with you back.”

“Oh, Zoë!” Kaylee ran up to them, her expression shining. “I was wondering if I could take you shopping!”

Wash glanced up from where he was starting the mule. “Hu? What? Is that even a good idea?” Zoë had hardly stepped off the ship in months. Once the baby had begun to show, Mal had not let her go on any kind of job, knowing she would be a target.

“She could use some new clothes, what with gettin’ so fat n all,” Jayne put in, coming down the stairs.

Zoë glared and Wash looked up at him with exasperation. “Jayne, that’s not fat, that’s baby.”

Jayne stopped. “Yeah… I know… but still.”

“It would be fun to get you some new clothes, and we could get some for the baby…” Kaylee grinned.

Zoë smiled and nodded her head in consent. It would be good to get off the ship, even if it meant clothes shopping which she absolutely abhorred.

“Get her some wings,” River said dreamily, peering through the door from the common area, Simon at her side. “She’s diamond in the sky.”

“Do you wanna come, Sweetie?” Kaylee asked, approaching them.

Simon spluttered. “Oh, Kaylee, I don’t think… I mean it’s not -”

“Come now, Doctor,” Mal interrupted, smiling. “I’m sure Kaylee and Zoë would look after your sister. Right, Zoë?”

“Yes, Sir,” she answered.

“’Sides, no one’s to recognise her here. Hell, I’d be surprised if they’d heard of the Alliance on this rock!” Mal joked.

“Yes, but still I’d prefer -” Simon began again, before being cut off by River, who put one hand to his mouth.

“She wants to shop.” Her eyes were determined.

Jayne sniggered, watching Simon’s confused and anxious face as River walked over to the mule, sitting firmly down.

“Don’t worry,” Kaylee said in an attempt to comfort Simon. She was worried he would blame her for this. “She’ll be fine. We got Zoë. She can look after us.”

Simon looked distractedly at Kaylee. “Right…” He rushed over to River, setting down some fundamental rules about leaving the ship that River entirely ignored.

Wash came and stood behind her. “He’s an awful worrier, isn’t he…”

“He just lookin’ out for his sister, s’all,” Kaylee said, looking slightly wistfully at Simon. “’Sides, wasn’t like you even wanted Zoë to go.”

“Yeah, but she’s, you know…” Wash said defensively.

“Are we gettin’ gone?” Jayne asked, stepping onto the mule.

“Jayne, let the ladies take the mule. Ricardo’s isn’t far. We can walk.”

“Aw, hell!” Jayne complained, throwing River a look to say it was her fault.

As they rode out of the air lock, down the ramp onto the busy dock, Wash and Simon watched them go, perhaps sharing something for the first time, though neither spoke. The Shepherd approached from behind them. “I am sure she will be alright.”

Wash turned. “Who are you talking to?”

Book smiled wisely. “I suppose both of you.”

“I don’t like this…” Simon muttered, turning and striding back into the ship.


Garret focused his binoculars on the Captain’s face. That was him alright. He was a bit disappointed. He had thought it would be harder, had thought he would be different. He wasn’t as threatening as he had imagined, nor as clever looking. Surely this man couldn’t have done anything that dreadful. Never mind, it wasn’t his place to ask.

He turned his gaze to the mule that was driving off the ship. There were two pretty girls and a beautiful lady who seemed pregnant. It was good they were getting out the way… Garret pressed a button on the side of his binoculars in order to zoom in on the girl who sat at the back. Her face was pale and bore a look of acute confusion. Billowing waves of dark hair streamed out behind her and she looked strangely frail behind the others.

Suddenly the girls eyes glared straight at him, causing him to jump backwards. It took him a second to remember that there was no possible way she could see him, especially from that distance. Still, her haunting eyes seemed to stare right at him, and not just that, stare right through him as though she could see every part of him.

It was only a moment then they were gone.


Inara threw back her head back in feigned ecstasy, a moan escaping her cherry dark lips. She arched her back inviting Gerik deeper. This man was an oddity. She had been sure he was a good man and yet… spending time with him… There was a darkness that passed over his eyes sometimes that almost scared her. He pulled her now close, his hands clutching hotly at her back. She responded with practiced perfection.

She couldn’t wait to be back on Serenity, back to a life that had no demands. This week had stretched for eternity. She found herself dreaming of the crew, thinking of them more often than normal. Kaylee, River… Mal.

Gerik groaned again and Inara shook Mal determinedly from her mind. There was no sense in it.


“Oh! I like this one!” Kaylee cried, pulling a top baring bright pink flowers from the rack, thrusting it before Zoë.

Zoë pulled a face. “I was never really a floral person…” she said slowly.

“It’ll look sweet on you!” Kaylee held it up, checking the size. “Don’t you think, River?”

“No,” River answered bluntly, looking blankly around her.

A smile flickered over Zoë’s lips. These clothes she was sure would look dear on Kaylee, but there was no way in the ‘verse she could be prevailed upon to wear them. She appreciated the gesture, but was beginning to wish she was back on the ship.

She glanced around the stall. There were few like this. It had racks stuffed full of mainly second hand clothing for pregnant ladies and a few crates of baby clothes. Zoë approached one of these. Her hands found themselves gently touching a tiny, deep red velvet garment.

Kaylee squealed. “Aw! It’s so small! What is it, a glove?”

“A hat.” Zoë imagined the child who could wear it, their child. It seemed suddenly unnervingly real. Their child.


“I love you.”

Inara smiled graciously. “That’s very kind of you…” They were sat on her long red coach, Gerik preparing to leave.

“No, don’t toss my comment aside,” he commanded. “I meant it. I want to spend my life with you. Won’t you stay?”

Inara did not see love in his eyes, she saw lust. “That is an attractive proposal, but I’m afraid -”

“You don’t understand,” he interrupted, his dark eyes flashing. “I could pay you! If you need me to pay. I am about to come into such a wealth of money!”

“Is that so?” she asked, humouringly.

“Yes! I have this job that will pay more than even you could imagine. You know the Art Dealer, Layla?”

“Yes,” Inara said, suddenly interested. It was still not long since Mal had stolen a famous Habib Zen painting from her gallery.

“She has a bounty on a man’s head, a bounty that surpasses belief and a man who I know arrived on planet this morning!” He looked at her with excited anticipation, but Inara’s blood froze.

“Oh,” she replied in an attempt to remain calm. “What is the man?”

“A petty crook. Urm... a Captain Reynolds? I think that’s what it said. Anyway, I have set up a meeting with him that will begin in… a few minutes!” He grinned. “I should be going. But if your better judgement does manage to persuade you, I beg you to give me a wave. I am minutes away from being the richest man in your acquaintance!”

Inara’s reply was barely coherent, but she managed to see him out. Mal


Mal walked in relative silence. He had had a lot on his mind recently and had become increasingly subdued. Inara was coming back today. It had been a long week. The ship seemed a bit strange without her. Oh well, he would never admit it. Besides, she had made it pretty clear she didn’t care what he felt.


Mal jumped, glancing around him before realising Inara’s voice had come from the radio in his pocket.

“Mal?” Her voice was edged with panic. “We have to go. We have to leave, now.”


Kaylee and Zoë stared at each other in shock for a moment. For some reason, they weren’t expecting danger. They turned and rushed back to the mule.

“Wait!” Kaylee suddenly yelled. “River! Where’s River?”

Zoë glanced around, realising with a sinking heart she wasn’t here.

Kaylee’s eyes were wide with panic. “We have to go!”


Tuesday, May 2, 2006 8:44 AM


Gertrude! Snort! I'm glad Mal shot that one down! Can't see him liking a kid on board. Actually I bet he'd be all gruff but gooey in private!!

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 1:35 PM


I really liked this! (not least because ' "How about Juliet?" Wash suggested...' was one of the best opening lines ever, as I am a huge Wash fan and my real name is Juliet! LOL) but please tell us what happens to River!

and I can so see Wash coming up with daft names because Zoe won't choose...

I want to

Saturday, July 8, 2006 6:16 AM


i love wash's original suggestion: 'amaya'. it's such a pretty name.



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