Wash propped himself up on one elbow and looked down at his bride of one week. "You never call me sugarlips."

"Excuse me?"

"I'd call you sugarlips. I call you lots of things. You never call me anything anybody else wouldn't call me."

"I used to call you Stache," Zoe muttered.

"You had everybody calling me that within two weeks. And don't pretend it was a term of endearment. You hated that mustache almost as much as I hated that nickname."

"That nickname got you to shave it, though."

"You got me to shave it. You've always been able to have your way with me."

She nudged him affectionately and burrowed her head further into her pillow, hoping the conversation was over.

"You could give it a try, you know. A new nickname."

Zoe sighed and rolled onto her back, surveying Wash with a long-suffering expression. She hadn't expected marriage to interfere with her sleep like this, but she supposed she should have guessed that anybody who talked as much as Wash did during the day couldn't be expected to stop at night just because his wife could hardly keep her eyes open.

"It doesn't have to be sugarlips. How about...Captain Hammer?"

"Oh, so we're talking a cold day in hell."

"Okay, not Captain Hammer. How about...."


Wash cringed. "Nah, there's a reason nobody calls me that, and it's not because it gets me all hot under the collar. Not in a good way, anyway."

"Do I not give you enough in the way of tangible demonstrations of affection?"

"Oh, no, you do, you definitely do. Don't get me wrong, I have no complaints in that area."

Zoe quirked an eyebrow. "Then what is this about, husband?"

"It's about...hey." He grinned. "Husband."

"Jayne never calls you that."

"I'd belt him if he tried. Or you would, which is more likely."

"You better believe it." She pulled him down for a kiss. "I love you, husband."

"Mmmm," Wash replied, moving in for another. "I love you, sugarlips."