Disclaimer: I don't own Firefly. Joss Whedon does.

A Speck of Hope

"You and I would make one beautiful baby. I want to meet that child one day. Period."

It was almost a game of hide-and-go-seek; she hid, I sought. Or, that's what it would have been if she'd been in the playin' mood, but she wasn't, and I wasn't. It was just another day on Serenity after our fight to tell the worlds what the Alliance had done, that was all. Nothing special.

Except for that feeling. The one I'd been getting since we'd gotten the ship flying again. The feeling that there was someone else on board, someone small and new. I wanted to find that someone, welcome him, tell him he was safe here.

So, I searched. But I didn't find him, only her, sitting alone in the cockpit, a blanket wrapped around her and her eyes gazing empty at the stars. I walked slowly to her, being careful not to make noise, my bare feet stepping lightly on the metal floor.

But she knew I was there. She always knows.

"Not tonight, River," she whispered, her voice choked. I stopped, but I did not leave. I watched her, watched her stare unblinking at the never ending night of space, and I listened.

"Part of him," I whispered, still not moving. She nodded slowly. "Beautiful baby," I said, a little louder. She nodded again.

I let the silence last awhile longer this time. She needed it. They needed it. Then I slowly took my seat, the Co-Pilot's chair…I wasn't taking his place, she new that. Ship needs a pilot, that's all.

"You should tell Simon," I said. "At least."

She settled a hand on her stomach and finally took her gaze from the stars, looking down at herself, still not showing, still able to hide it like it wasn't there.

"I can't, River," she whispered, her voice hoarse from the tears. "Not yet. It has...," she swallowed and looked over at me, a sad smile on her face. "It has to stay between me and him." On the final word she pointed to the stars, and I nodded my understanding.

"I'm sorry," I said, standing. "Didn't mean to pry."

"It's all right," she said and shook her head, wiping the tears from her face. She waved me over to her. I came and stood by her side and she took my hand, placing it on her belly where hers had been just moments before. "Can you hear it?" she asked, her voice eager. I nodded, unsure of what to say. "Isn't it beautiful," she continued. Again, I nodded, but she wasn't looking anymore.

She was staring down again, watching the steady rise and fall of her stomach, and the tears had started again. I tried not to hear, slipping my hand from her stomach, unnoticed, and walking quietly from the room…but I heard one last thing, one last plea.

Wash, we were supposed to meet him together.