In The Beginning…

Summary: This is a story of the crew's first day on board Serenity.

Pairings: Some Wash/Zoe.

Rating: PG, maybe PG-13…

Spoilers: All canon from Firefly, and maybe some minor foreshadowing from Serenity.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox, or Universal…so I own nothing and make (sadly) no profit off of this!

One: Wash

Wash dropped his two duffle bags down on the cargo ramp and coughed slightly at the large amount of dust that stirred thanks to his actions. He'd been reluctant to join onto a crew for a while now, though he'd met several captains and seen several boats. Hell, just the week before last he'd been offered a shiny deal by a man named Emerson, the captain of a brand new Star Striper. But for some reason, Wash had found himself turning down offer after offer.

Hoban Washburne knew that a pilot like him didn't come cheap; he was well trained, talented, and well worth every penny that he earned. Yet he found himself signing up and saddling out with a poorly reputed Captain named Malcolm Reynolds and his decades old Firefly…for much less money than he could have. 'Why did I take this job again?' he wondered, glancing briefly at the rust spots lining the outside doors of the airlock.

The rhythmic pounding of heavy boots on metal caught his attention, and he looked up to see…her. 'Oh yeah,' he grinned both inwardly and outwardly. 'That's why.'

"This everything?" the goddess asked him. He felt himself smiling moronically at her and didn't care. Zoe was beautiful. She was tall, and curvy, and…hot. Plus she was tough as nails and scary as hell. Wash loved it.

"Do you need to search me again?" he questioned, spreading his arms out hopefully.

"No," she picked up one of his duffle bags and turned her back on him, striding quickly into the ship and over to the panel that controlled the door locks. She hit the button to seal up the doors and continued up the stairs, trusting Wash to follow her.

"Are you sure?" he grabbed the other bag and hurried through the doors, which were now almost shut, trying not to sound too disappointed. He followed her up the stairs, not really bothering to stop his gaze from focusing on her backside.


Wash pouted dramatically and continued to follow her, up the final flight of stairs, through the mess hall, and down the hallway to the crew quarters. Zoe stopped in front of one of the hatches.

"This one's yours," she set his bag down and gestured to the hatch. "The one beside it belongs to the mechanic, Bester. Mine's next to his and Captain's on the end. Go ahead and get yourself settled in." She turned away again and strode purposefully towards the bridge. "We eat at 18:00…no need to dress," she added sarcastically.

"Yes ma'am," Wash pretended to tip his hat to her, liking her even more. So he liked a little abuse from his women, he'd admit it. Wash kicked the ladder in and looped the duffels over his shoulder, climbing down into his new quarters.

"There you are," Mal greeted with an eager smile when Wash ambled into the mess hall for dinner. Wash grinned at him briefly and then turned his attention to Zoe. She rolled her eyes and turned back to the series of cabinets behind her.

"Here I am," Wash nodded, turning his attention back to Mal. He liked the captain already, not because he was going out of his way to welcome the new pilot and hoping that he wouldn't notice that he was underpaid (which he was), but because Malcolm Reynolds really loved Serenity. Wash knew his history as well as the next guy, knew about the devastation that was Serenity Valley, and knew that Mal and Zoe were old army buddies. Any man who would name his home after the worst period of his life had to be either incredibly deep or incredibly insane. Wash was a fan of both.

"This is Bester," Mal gestured to the young guy sitting at the table playing his chopsticks like drumsticks. "He's our genius mechanic."

Wash nodded good-naturedly and shook the guys hand. There were no calluses there, and no grease…and Wash knew immediately that this was no genius mechanic. But the kid immediately launched into conversation with him, asking about his flight training and the like, and Wash took a seat across from him, joining in.

Mal took a seat too and Zoe joined them a minute later, setting the food down with her. "So Wash," Mal began, passing around a large serving bowl of risotto. "You got any business left to take care of before we get flyin'?"

Wash shook his head and passed Zoe the salt. "All set," he grinned. "When did ya' wanna take off?"

"Soon as possible," Mal replied. "We got us a job waiting on Beaumonde, it's a couple of days ride from here. Like to get her up in the air soon as possible."

"I can go now-"

"Naw," Mal waved his hand dismissively and took a sip of what looked like iced tea. "We'll eat first, job's not that important."

Wash shrugged and continued to eat, stifling a smirk at Zoe's exasperated look.

Wash sank into the pilot chair with a sigh. It was a little worn in some spots, but was dead comfy. He looked around at the gauges appraisingly, liking what he saw. While Zoe was a nifty tool to draw him onto Serenity, the honest truth was that he liked the ship. Firefly's like this one, a Mach 3 with the extenders, had something that new ships like Star Stripers didn't: they had soul. Wash had flown in dozens of different ships before, found benefits and downsides to each of them. But Firefly's had a way to them. They would stay in the air forever if the mechanic had just half a brain, and would fly however you want her to if the pilot understood what made her tick.

There was a reason that Wash had turned down offers like Emerson's: he was waiting for a boat that he could learn to love. Wash had been in the skies before; been up in the black, been in ships he did not love, with a crew he did not feel any real compassion for. And he wanted a change. The money for flying wasn't worth it, and he had never been a greedy man. He was shamed to think of what his mother would say if she thought he was only in it for the money; he was raised better than that.

Wash took a deep breath and set about clearing the dust of off the controls. He reached up and flicked the primer switches, and then tried the ignition control. Nothing. He tried again. Still nothing.

A quick look under the panel, a few quick adjustments and he tried it a third time. Still nothing. Since he now knew for sure that there were no problems on his end, Wash jumped to his feet and made his way down the hall, through the mess, to the engine room. Bester was lying in a hammock, reading a nudie magazine.

"Hey Bester," Wash poked his head inside the door. "I'm not getting any engine control in the bridge. Is she not workin'?"

Bester frowned. "Was working earlier," he dropped his magazine and slid gracelessly out of the hammock, ambling over to the engine. He peered uselessly underneath it, trying to check the cables.

Wash bit his lip, not wanting to chastise the mechanic on his first day on board…even if the guy did have more hair than brains. "Try the switch," he suggested, hopefully sounding helpful and not sarcastic. Bester looked up in confusion and followed Wash's gaze to where the main power switch was not on. He pulled the large bar over, allowing control from the bridge.

"Shiny," Wash grinned at him and ambled back out of the hallway down to the bridge. Mal met up with him in the mess. "Ready to go Captain?"

"Yep," Mal looked almost eager.

"How long's it been since she's been up?" Wash asked him, continuing onto the bridge. Mal followed.

"Well…" Mal thought on it. "I've had 'er for 'bout two months now, and she ain't been up yet. Sat in storage at the dealer for 'bout five years…"

Wash blinked. "I'll uh…I'll just go easy on her then." He reached up and tried the switches again. This time there was only a brief pause before the dull rumbling of the engine echoed from down the hall. The gauges on his panel lit up, and Wash reached over and checked the view screen, showing a clear sky above them. "I just need a minute to make sure we have nav control." Mal nodded and took a seat in the co-pilots chair, looking down at his own controls in confusion.

"Okay, looks good," Wash told him, checking the nav gauges. "We should break atmo in about nine minutes."

Mal sighed happily and climbed to his feet. "Better let them know," he grabbed the com unit in his hands and his voice crackled over the speakers just as Wash guided the ship up into the air. "This is the Captain, we'll break atmo in 9 minutes and should be in Boros in…"

"32 hours," Wash supplied. "As long as she stays in the air."

"32 hours," Mal finished. "Zoe come on up to the bridge." He hung up the com and stood behind Wash, watching as the new pilot guided them easily up and through the ship filled skies.

Zoe arrived just in time to see the billowing clouds of the lower atmosphere give way to the black emptiness of space. "Wave Badger," Mal told her. "Tell him we're on our way to Boros."

"Yes Sir," Zoe nodded dutifully as Mal left the bridge.

"Keep her in the sky," he called back to Wash on his way out.

"Not a problem," Wash grinned, though he knew that Mal couldn't hear him. He programmed in the coordinates and set the autopilot so that Zoe could take the helm and wave Badger.

"Nice flyin'," Zoe told him reluctantly.

"Would you know the difference?" he teased her, sinking into the co-pilots chair and watching eagerly as her nimble fingers flashed over the buttons in a practiced sequence.

"I spent a large part of my childhood on a ship," Zoe told him honestly, which he appreciated. "I know the difference."

"Then thank-you," he grinned at her. He knew that his gaze on her was starting to annoy her, so he forced himself to look out at the stars. "Do you believe in love a first sight?"

"What?" she rolled her eyes at his obvious come on…or so she thought.

"Oh get over yourself," he grinned. "I was talking about the ship!"

"Oh…" he could swear that she blushed a little when she looked back down to the wave screen.

"So do you?" her glare told him that she didn't. "Well, I do. Do you know the first rule to flying?"

"No," she didn't glare this time, just tried to hide the slight curiosity on her face.

"You have to love the ship," Wash told her, running a hand over the metal panel above the gauges lovingly. "You have to fall in love with her before you can keep her in the sky. I've flown a lot of ships before, all types, but I never seen a ship like this one before. There's just something about Serenity…she'll stay in the sky as long as her crew loves her. And how could you not?"

Zoe remained silent and looked back down at the wave screen, but she didn't roll her eyes, and she didn't scowl. Wash climbed to his feet and made his way out of the helm. "I'll let you send your wave," he explained. "Give me a call when you're done."

"Okay," Zoe replied quietly, sounding like she was still mulling over what he had said.

Wash smiled to himself and made his way to the mess with a low whistle and a bounce in his step. Oh yes…he was going to marry that girl one day.