Title: Closing time

Series: Crazy's Rescue Mission

Author: Sevangel

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Not mine: belongs to J. W.

-

"Wash, I believe I done told you to get your pigu on the bridge." Mal orders.

"That's my wife." Wash yells.

"Yeah, I know." Mal yells back. "And I know you wanna be here for the birth of my godchild, but ain't nothin' gonna be born if'n you don't get us off this Reaver infested moon."

Wash stomps back up the steps.

"Finally." Mal mutters as he runs to the infirmary. "Okay, doc, how's she doin'?"

"Have I mentioned I've never actually delivered a baby?" Simon asks. "As the primary, that is."

"Can't be all that difficul…." Mal stumbles across the floor as Serenity does a dive. "Man worries bout his child be born and then he's gonna fly like a maniac?"

"Would you two shut up and get this thing out of me?" Zoe's voice is even but it's not hard to see the panic on her face.

"You're only 8 centimeters dilated." Simon says. "It's still going to be some time."

"Then cut it out of me." Zoe orders, her hands clenching the sides of the bed she's lying on.

"Aw, c'mon, Zo, it can't be that bad." Mal says and then takes a few steps back at the look Zoe gives him.

"Tell you what, sir." Zoe growls through clenched teeth. "Why don't you go piss out a grenade and then get back to me."

"And on that note, I think I'll head on up to the bridge." Mal slowly backs up.

"If you take one more step, I'll castrate you with my bare hands." Zoe growls.

"I was just goin' to get your husband." Mal stops dead in his tracks. "A husband should always be with his wife in these moments."

"I thought we had reavers on our tail?" Simon comments as he fiddles pointlessly with equipment.

"Be that as it may, I think I'll take over for him." Mal glares at Simon.

"Don't move." Zoe orders and then reaches her hand out to him.

Mal automatically steps forward to take Zoe's hand and then instantly regrets that action. He almost hits his knees at the strength behind Zoe's squeeze.

"What's all the screamin' bout?" Jayne pokes his head into the room. "Oh, never mind."

"Get over here." Mal orders, tears filling his eyes as Zoe practically crushes his hand.

Jayne turns around to run when he's stopped by ninety plus pounds of genius.

"Going somewhere?" River arches an eyebrow.

"I was just comin' to find you." Jayne says. "I've been neglectin' you lately…"

"We had sex thirty minutes ago." River interrupts.

Simon rolls his eyes.

"You two was supposed to be unloadin' the new cargo thirty minutes ago." Mal says.

"We did." River replies. "We had sex during that."

Mal rolls his eyes.

"Well, I've got chores to do." Jayne says, trying to push past River.

River places a hand on Jayne's chest to stop him. "Going somewhere?"

"C'mon, baby, you don't want me gettin' a broken hand." Jayne's voice goes to a low rumble, knowing it gets his girl all wet.

River sways slightly and then pushes on his chest. "Hold Zoe's hand."

Jayne stomps over to the soldier's other side, muttering under his breath about little genius and bein' whipped.

Zoe grabs Jayne's hand gratefully as another contraction rips through her body. She's never felt pain like this and doesn't ever want to again. Hell, she doesn't understand why a woman would want to have another kid after going through this.

Inara calmly walks into the infirmary and whispers to Simon. The doctor nods and hands her a pair of gloves.

"What's goin' on?" Mal asks.

"Inara is going to assist in the delivery." Simon places Zoe's booted feet back into the stirrups and lifts the bottom portion of the blanket to examine her. "Oh, my."

"Oh, my what?" Mal asks.

"I believe I mentioned I've never been the primary." Simon replies. "In fact, I don't have much experience with births at all and…."

Zoe screams.

"That can't be good." Mal pushes the hair off Zoe's forehead and turns to look at River. "Go on up and change places with Wash."

River nods and runs out of the infirmary.

"Zoe, you listenin' to me." Mal demands. "You're stronger than this."

"I can't do this, Mal." Zoe pants.

"Sure ya can." Mal grins lopsidedly. "I got a godchild to meet."

Zoe nods and squeezes the hands in hers tightly.

Jayne cringes but beside that, makes no outwards recognition of the pain shooting up his arm.

"What's going on?" Wash runs into the infirmary with wild eyes.

"Oh, we thought we'd have a tea party." Mal replies sarcastically. "She's bout to pop out my godchild, what'd ya think was goin' on?"

Wash glances under the blanket and his knees almost buckle.

"Wash, get over here and hold your wife's hand before you pass out." Mal orders, pulling his hand out of Zoe's.

Wash takes Zoe's hand and then whimpers. "Maybe I should go check on the bridge."

"Don't be a wuss." Mal pats him on the back. "Just think, in a bit, you'll be a pa."

Wash winces but can't loose the goofy smile on his face.

Zoe rolls her eyes and lets out another scream. "I hate men."

-

"Aw, I want one." Kaylee coos, touching the soft, dark hair lightly. "What're ya namin' her?"

"Ciara Mallory Washburne." Zoe replies, running her fingers over the face of her child.

"That's pretty." River comments, her head cocking to study the infant in Zoe's arm. "Do you understand now?"

Zoe nods, not needing River to verify what's she asking. She now knows why a woman would go through this more than once; Ciara was worth every bit of pain of her birth.

"You do realize Mal is going to refer to her as Mallory?" Inara asks, studying the child with a tiny stab of envy. It is something she will never have.

"Yeah." Zoe yawns.

"Alright, it's time for everyone to leave." Simon ushers the women out of the infirmary. "Zoe and Ciara need their rest."

Jayne looks between Wash and the baby in Zoe's hands and then shakes his head. "How can somethin' so cute come from somethin' as goofy as you?"

"I don't know." Wash's face is pressed up against the glass, watching as Simon fiddles with Zoe and his daughter, a lit cigar forgotten in his hand. "Hey!"

"Took ya long enough." Mal laughs and then takes a drag off his own cigar.

"Congratulations." Book pats Wash on the back with a smile. "You're a very lucky man and I'm sure you'll make a wonderful father."

"Why do I get the feelin' Zoe's gonna do all the punishin' and rule makin' while Wash does all the playin' and goofin' off?" Jayne says, cigar clenched between his teeth.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Wash defends.

"All I know is five years from now when she decides it'll be neat to shove one of her toys in the septic or water tank, it'll be Zoe we'll see punishin' the little bit." Jayne replies. "And you're probably be lookin' at your feet all guilty like."

"You're right." Mal agrees, his eyebrows raised as he looks at Jayne.

"What?" Jayne grunts.

"You do realize you just talked bout bein' on this boat in five years, don't ya?" Mal asks.

"Yeah? Why?"

"Cause I think it's the first time you've ever talked bout that far in the future." Mal comments.

"My girl ain't leavin' this boat and I ain't leavin' her." Jayne replies. "Sides, I ain't that stupid. This is bout the best job I've had even if'n I am workin' with a bunch of clowns."

Mal nods and doesn't say anything. He knows it's the closest Jayne'll get to admitting he sees the crew as family.

"Wash, I want to keep Zoe in here over night." Simon tells the pilot. "Ciara is in her bassinet and it will be best if she stays in the infirmary also."

"Okay." Wash agrees. "Whatever you think is best."

"They're both sleeping." Simon replies. "I'll check on them in a few hours; if you want, there are blankets lying on the spare bed."

"Thanks." Wash puts out the cigar in his hand and hands it to Mal. "I'm going to go stay with Zoe and Ciara."

"I'll put her down for the night." Mal replies, holding out an arm to Inara. "Miss Inara, would you like to walk me?"

Inara rolls her eyes with a smile. "It would be my honor."

"I think I'm going to head to bed." Book smiles at the remaining four and walks towards his bunk.

"Kaylee, I was going to go get something to eat." Simon holds out his hand. "Join me?"

"Sure." Kaylee takes Simon's hand and snuggles against his side.

River steps in front of Jayne and leans back against his chest with a sigh. "One day."

"Yeah." Jayne agrees, studying the Washburne family though the glass. "One day."

"Jayne?" River turns around and smiles up at him, her front rubbing against his.

"Yeah, baby doll?" Jayne wraps his arms around her and pulls her against his chest.

"Wanna have sex?" River purrs, her arms wrapping around his neck.

Jayne swoops her up into his arms with a leer. "Hell, yeah."

The lights dim down, nighttime taking over the boat.

On a bridge, a captain and a companion sit in silence, so much wanting to be said but nothing needed to be said.

In a passenger room, a Shepard reads from his bible as his mind ponders the mysteries that make up life.

In a kitchen, a doctor leans back against the stove while a mechanic leans against him, their lips fused together.

In a infirmary, a pilot watches over his soldier wife and his newborn daughter, completely unable to believe he's this lucky.

And in a bunk, hands and lips roam, two trained killers letting their guards down as they make each other melt.

-

THE END!

a/n: For the next little while, I am focusing on finishing Slayers, Let it Flow, and Heart of Gold so updates for my other stories won't happen for a while.