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FIREFLY: Into the Uttered Night (Wash/Zoe)

girlnorth organized the onebedficathon. I signed up to write something about Firefly. Woo!

Title: Into the Uttered Night
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Firefly
Pairing: Wash/Zoe
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Your hands quake like the leaves on the stewing water.
Notes: Pre-series



Wash eyes the room, the scuffed feet of the furniture, the graying walls. Somewhere in the building, a cat yowls. The key to the room is in his pocket. He twists it against his thumb.

"How much did we have to pay for this place, again?"

Zoe brushes past him, walks to the window. She leans her shoulder against the sill and peers out, sideways.

He clears his throat. "Are we expecting an ambush of some sort?"

"Shut the door," she replies. "And be quiet."

"Okey-dokey."

She looks back at him and scowls.

*


Zoe looks out the window every five and a half minutes. Wash counted.

He counted because he's bored, because she won't let him fiddle with the antiquated vid screen, or call out for dim sum, or sing the theme song from that cereal commercial he really, really loves.

"You don't honestly think they'll find us here, do you?" He bounces on the bed, because there's no chair to sit in. Zoe is very attached to the window. "It's not like Mal keeps a roster on the ship."

Zoe twitches the curtain back again, then shakes her head. "Can't be too careful. Alliance has its claws deep here."

"In a backwater like this?" Wash tips his head back and stares at the water stains in the ceiling. At least, he hopes it was water.

If she was anybody else, Wash thinks Zoe would have sighed, right there. She doesn't, of course, but three fingers on her right hand twitch.

"Fuel," she bites out. "This planet's soaked in it."

"Ah." He counts the beats out, four minutes full. "And we thought it would be a good idea to smuggle in some chips?"

"Alliance sets the tariffs high." She shrugs. "Folk need the goods anyway."

"And maintains a healthy guard at the docks." He clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "Maybe the captain should have thought about that before we took the job."

Zoe's shoulders stiffen.

She looks out the window.

*


Night falls. This planet is cold. Wash burrows underneath the bedspread and tries not to think about the last occupants of the room.

Zoe's stopped checking the window, but she's still leaning against the wall.

"Let me guess," Wash hazards. "During the war, you never slept."

She directs a gaze at him, unblinking and cool.

"I retract the question." He lifts his arm, the blanket billowing. "But I don't think you need to keep watch. If they haven't found us yet--"

"They'll hold the ship overnight and kick us off-planet in the morning." Zoe nods.

Wash's stomach growls. Loudly.

There's a flash of white in the shadows, and he almost misses it.

"Did you just smile?"

"Hm."

"Never thought I'd see the day."

She turns her face away from him, but he catches the second grin, all the same.

*


"You know, we might have to fight our way to the ship in the morning."

Light from the signs outside seeps through the window, but Wash has to strain to see Zoe's expression.

She is, to say the least, amused.

"And when I say 'we,'" he amends, "it'll be mostly you."

"It won't come to that," she says.

"But I'm scrappy," he persists. "I might surprise you."

"Maybe."

"What I'm saying is," he continues, "if we have to fight in the morning, or conduct a dangerous battle of wits, you'll need to get some rest."

"I'm resting." She raises her hand, gesturing to the empty floor around her.

"Maybe on a cushiony surface? Closing your eyes and such?"

"I'll be fine," she replies.

"If you're sure."

"Yes."

"This bed sure is comfortable. Like lying down on a flock of geese." Wash slides down the bed and stretches. "Live geese. With pointy beaks. And maybe they're a little angry. Maybe I'll join you on the floor."

"Sleep, Wash."

"Yes, ma'am."

Maybe he imagines her laughter.

*


He dozes off, probably, because when the mattress dips beneath him, he startles and sits up.

"Shhh." Zoe bends close, her voice a whisper. "Dawn's not for a few hours."

"Should I--"

"It's fine." She pulls the blanket over her shoulder, rolls to face away from him.

"Okay." Suddenly, he is very aware of his knees. And other things.

"Wash?"

"Yeah, Zoe?"

"Try anything, and you'll wake up without hands."

"...message received."

"Good."

*


He wakes when the sun hits his eyes, and Zoe yanks the blanket off the bed.

"The captain would know we've gone to ground," she says, "but they might need us now."

Wash blinks. "I slept great, thanks. You?"

Zoe tilts her head, and that's when he notices she's got a knife in her hand and a gun in her holster.

"Oh. You're serious."

She slides the knife into a sheath. "Get your boots on."

"Right." He crouches next to the bed, fumbling with his socks, his bootstraps. "I was kidding about the fighting, you know."

Zoe ties her hair back. For a second, he's distracted.

She clears her throat. "Wash?"

"Yeah?" Then he flinches. "Sorry. Captain. Battle. I remember."

She holds forth a comm unit. "Don't turn that on yet."

"Got it." He reaches for the comm, clasping it in his hand. Their fingers entangle. Her skin is warm.

She stares at him. "This wasn't--"

"I know," he interrupts, taking a step back. "Not anything. Absolutely. You're right. We should get going. Exactly."

He turns to the door, the comm clutched tightly in his hand, the last of his stutters still spilling from his mouth.

And behind him, Zoe's smile is a slow bloom.


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Brian Dickson's Speak, and I Sit By You. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Linked at onebedficathon.

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Comments

( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
moodfic
Dec. 18th, 2006 01:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
slynn6776
Dec. 17th, 2006 07:21 am (UTC)
Really great! I absolutely loved it! :)
moodfic
Dec. 18th, 2006 01:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
vaudevilles
Dec. 17th, 2006 09:34 am (UTC)
"Live geese. With pointy beaks. And maybe they're a little angry. Maybe I'll join you on the floor."

This whole thing is superb. But that bit? That bit had me in stitches.

Simply gorgeous.
moodfic
Dec. 18th, 2006 01:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
budclare
Dec. 17th, 2006 10:01 am (UTC)
EEEEE! So cute. :)
moodfic
Dec. 18th, 2006 01:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
stormkpr
Dec. 17th, 2006 01:26 pm (UTC)
Everything about it seemed totally real to me - like this *was* one of their early interactions. Very good fic.
moodfic
Dec. 18th, 2006 01:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
tanisafan
Dec. 17th, 2006 01:36 pm (UTC)
Ohhh this was great. You write a brilliant Wash! I can really imagine that this is the point in time where Zoe begins to like Wash.

"This bed sure is comfortable. Like lying down on a flock of geese." Wash slides down the bed and stretches. "Live geese. With pointy beaks. And maybe they're a little angry. Maybe I'll join you on the floor."

Damn. Best line ever! This was amazing, thanks for sharing!
moodfic
Dec. 18th, 2006 01:05 pm (UTC)
*g* Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it.
srichard
Dec. 17th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
Awww...I love poor Wash trying to deal with Zoe in full-on battle alert mode. Very sweet.
moodfic
Dec. 18th, 2006 01:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
razycrandomgirl
Dec. 18th, 2006 12:55 am (UTC)
I like this. Really. :-)
moodfic
Dec. 18th, 2006 01:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
herm42
Dec. 18th, 2006 05:30 am (UTC)
that was fantastic. and I'm with vaudevilles on the geese. lmao. you nailed both of these characters.
moodfic
Dec. 18th, 2006 01:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!
zarahemla
Dec. 18th, 2006 03:56 pm (UTC)
Ah, I love it ... the beautiful atmosphere and Wash so bouncy and Zoe pretending not to like it ... that's just how they got together. I know it.
moodfic
Jan. 1st, 2007 06:35 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm thrilled you liked it.
(Deleted comment)
moodfic
Jan. 1st, 2007 06:35 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
franklymydear
Dec. 18th, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC)
Aww, I love your Wash/Zoe! And your Wash is spot on.
moodfic
Jan. 1st, 2007 06:35 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!
amandaescalante
Dec. 19th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
Aw
Absolutely beautiful. I can actually hear them and see them! I really love reading your stories--and I figured it's about time I start leaving feedback saying so.

As always, I'm left wanting more.
moodfic
Jan. 1st, 2007 06:36 am (UTC)
Re: Aw
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!
sheepfairy
Dec. 20th, 2006 07:33 am (UTC)
Excellent! I love the way you write Wash, his banter is just perfect. I love the fact that you had him refer to himself as 'scrappy'. And I like how Zoe is exasperated with him but amused by him at the same time.
moodfic
Jan. 1st, 2007 06:36 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it.
girlnorth
Jan. 2nd, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
Ooo, I really liked it. I loved Zoe's hidden smiles, very her. The whole story was very them.
moodfic
Jan. 11th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
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( 32 comments — Leave a comment )

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