Author's note: This is it. The End. (Of this story, anyway, lol). I hope you enjoyed reading it (especially if you've been enduring my sporadic updating from the beginning!) Also, I may have borrowed some song lyrics from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. "Everyone's a Hero", to be exact. Haven't watched it? Or (dread the thought) never even heard of it? Rent it or check it out from your local library. If you like Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris at all, it's so totally worth it. Also, this chapter starts ten minutes or more after the end of the last. Some time to rest, if you will.

Music Suggestions: 'Possession' by Sarah McLachlan, 'Prep for flight' by David Newman, 'Everyone's a hero' by Nathan Fillion.

Disclaimer: Don't own Firefly or Serenity.

10-The Perfect Woman

"Would you dance for me?" Mal asked after a moment of hesitation, his hand resting lightly over the one she had placed on his heart. Before she could answer, he began to ramble. "Simon's mentioned it numerous times...I mean, not that seeing you fight isn't beautiful enough on its own...Suppose I just wanted to see you dancing something of your own free will, not related to violence. Something that makes you happy, is all."

Laying her head on top of both of their hands, she angled her face up to look at him. "Was there something specific you had in mind?"

"Don't reckon I know any of the names of any particular dance or any of the moves involved, albatross. Something natural. Something that comes from here." Mal replied, finishing his response with a finger tapping at her ribcage, closest to her heart.

Frowning slightly, she pulled herself up onto her elbows, hair tumbling around her shoulders to tickle Mal's chest. "But I thought you said you wouldn't be ready for that dance for awhile. It isn't a dance I wish to participate in alone."

Mal couldn't help but chuckle at her petulant response.

"As you well know, that wasn't what I meant for this particular conversation." Mal stated in a slight reprimanding tone.

"Alright." River relented with a pout. Rising fluidly to her feet, River took a few steps from the bed towards the other side of the room, the silk robe she'd worn a puddle of wrinkled material next to the door. Pausing as she was about to bend over to retrieve it, a hand rose up to her chest and she looked down, a deep breath exhaling from her lungs as Mal's gaze consumed her, scalding her skin in its intensity. Gazing impartially at him over her shoulder, she raised an eyebrow. "Would you prefer I remain naked for this dance?"

ooozooooo*ooeoooooo*ooocooooo

Miranda lagged behind her husband as they reached the landing at the top of the steps. Walker turned to peer at her over his shoulder when he heard her steps treading down the opposite hall. Instead of making Zoe climb the steps to her old bedroom, they had decided to swap rooms with her for as long as she stayed under their roof. At least during her pregnancy. Now with the birth of her son and a few days rest...

"Sweetheart? I know it's been awhile since we've slept up here, but Zoe's room is this way." Walker ribbed teasingly.

"I know, dear." Miranda replied dryly, waving him off to continue without her. "I just want to look in on River before I lay down for the night."

"Don't be long." Walker advised meaningfully before continuing on towards their temporary sleeping quarters.

Continuing on in her own direction, Miranda tapped lightly on the door second to the end of the hall. Receiving no response, Miranda cracked the already partially open door enough to peek into. Finding the room empty, a warm smile lit up her face. Stepping back, Miranda eased the door back to its previous position and walked away. Seconds later, her fingertips trailed along the surface of another door as she passed. A door that held the rest of the world at bay as two new lovers sought to discover something that had previously always been denied them. Peace. And perhaps a little bit of love.

"Well done, Malcolm Reynolds." Miranda saluted softly to the door before she walked away.

oooaoooo*oooxooooooo*ooorooooo

Eighteen Months Later...

River woke in Mal's bunk to a familiar voice in her head. Its presence was not what had woken her, though. It was the melodic, almost musical flow that accompanied it.

Sitting up, River tossed the covers back and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. Snatching up the maroon button-up shirt that she'd peeled off of Mal hours ago, River nimbly thumbed the buttons into place as she walked over to the ladder leading out of Mal's bunk. Lithely climbing the rungs, River followed the direction of the voice in her head.

The voice she could hear with her ears echoing down the open hatch leading to the bridge. Only, it wasn't a talking voice. It was a rich, gentle baritone singing to a child.

It was her captain singing to Zoe's eighteen-month-old son.

"Everyone's a hero in their own way. Everyone's got villains they must face. They're not as cool as mine, but folks you know it's fine to know your place."

His exaggerated facial expressions as he sang had tiny giggles constantly bursting past the toddler's lips.

"Everyone's a hero in their own way. In their own not that heroic way."

When Mal sang the next line, his hand shot up into the air before coming back to wave back and forth in front of his nose as if catching a whiff of something foul.

"Everyone's a hero in their own way. Everyone's got something they can do. Get up, go out and fly. Especially that Badger, he smells like poo."

"You know, I think I'm gettin' pretty good at this." Mal said softly when he caught a hint of movement from the corner of his eye. Lucas squirmed from his perch on Mal's knee and peered around Mal's arm to see who his uncle was talking to.

"Make a good father someday." River supplied cryptically, moving towards the pair lounging in the pilot's chair. River draped herself across Mal's lap after Mal lifted Lucas into the air and gestured to the freed up space with the tiny tot's giggling face. Settling in, River collected the child being presented and sat him on her lap. Lucas's joyous laughter continued to echo in the cavernous space. River couldn't help but smile as she leaned her head back on Mal's shoulder. "I didn't know you could sing."

"That's because I can't." Mal replied matter-of-factly, kissing her hair as he tightened his arms around River and the toddler that was more precious to him than little Kaylee. And that was saying something. "Was just something silly to keep the rugrat occupied while his momma got a few hours of sleep."

"Well, I thought you were very good." River commented in a no-nonsense tone, tickling Lucas's sides. Lucas giggled gleefully. "Wasn't he, Luca-luc?"

Lucas nodded enthusiastically as peals of laughter continued to erupt from his lips.

"You know, ganging up on a guy isn't exactly fair play, albatross." Mal said instead, changing the subject.

River placed a lingering kiss on the skin beneath her lips, the place where Mal's shoulder met his neck. The neck of his brown button-up gaped open beneath her lips as she pulled at the collar with her free hand.

"Are you trying to distract me, lit'l albatross? In front of a child?" Mal ribbed in a light scandalized tone.

"Just practicing." River replied pragmatically, leaning back enough to gaze up at him through her lashes.

The teasing light left Mal's eyes as he returned her gaze squarely. "For what, exactly? Are you trying to tell me something, River? Be very clear."

"The stamen has not yet fertilized the stigma." River stated, ticking her head in the direction of the innocent ears seated within her embrace. "Flower still has yet to spread its seed into a germination cycle."

"I'm getting too later on in my years for you to be presentin' shocks like that to my system. About gave me a right heart attack, darlin'. Just 'cause I allude to getting comfortable with the idea of youngins' don't mean I want one of my own runnin' around right this minute. Got my hands full enough with this one." Mal explained in a relieved tone, mussing with Lucas's hair.

"Not now." River supplied in a distant, far off tone. She leaned back against his solid chest. "Not yet...but soon."

"What?" Mal asked in a panicked tone.

ooovoooooo*ooowoooooo*ooouooooooo

Well, what'd you think? If you've listened to the full song, rest assured, Mal was not singing the whole song to the child. Pretty much just what appeared in the chapter. The first time I watched Dr. Horrible's... and heard Nathan Fillion singing that song...it kind of inspired that scene above. As for the ending, I thought it would work better, ending there. But, in another version of that scene, River spouts out a specific vision she had and she already knew just how soon it was going to be. But, it didn't really fit well as an ending ending, so... this is finally the end! It's been fun, but I think I'm gonna lay off of any more writing Firefly/Serenity for awhile. It does not come easy to me.