TITLE: The Woodsmen

DISCLAIMER: Yup, suddenly, in the 5th chapter of this little tale, I have become the owner of all rights to Firefly inc…ok…that was a lie.

A/N: So many people seemed to want a little more from this story, and I decided that I did to! Hope you enjoy this little finale, although I've got to say it's kinda long my usual veins. But hey, I like writing it, so I figure what the hey

Cain and Seamus sat quietly in the corner of the room. They had been here over three hours, watching and waiting the growing number of patrons entering the bay. O'Donnell's was a popular place on Grand'Mere, the little moon they were inhabiting this month. It was a popular stop over for travellers as well as the locals, providing a nice mix of people who could easily go missing. And they liked that just fine.

Their current employer, a seedy little weed of a Rim man who needed girls for his less than reputable brothel, had contracted them to find him some good looking tail. The man couldn't entice even the most jaded working girl to whore under his conditions, since no woman in her right mind would submit to being used like that, or allow their kids to be used like that. Uncivilized the Rim planets may be, but folks out there still didn't hold to sex slavery, specially not when kids was involved. So here they were, looking for someone who could easily disappear.

The take would be especially good iffen they could grab a kid too. They knew the establishment, knew that fine looking Core gentlemen would wander in, pretending to be lost, and stay for the opportunity to indulge in some dark fantasies. Scruples not being a huge part of their work, they were happy to oblige for such a handsome price.

'Cept they'd been looking for nigh on three hours and couldn't seem to find even one fine looking lady who was a viable option. The women always seemed to be in groups that had men around them, always seemed to be watched, and even the few who brought kids in with them held on tightly to their little 'uns.

Locals were wary of their type, although no one knew them well enough to know for sure they were looking for girls. If they had they knew their asses would be kicked out right quick, so they stayed unobtrusive, drinking quietly. No one bothered them, although Seamus thought he saw a few strange glances in their direction. Their presence was masked even better by the rowdy table to their left. Three men were well into a good night's drinking, the slimmer one with dark hair looking the farthest gone. The oldest man, a handsome fella with brown hair, was cackling at something the big one was saying. Something about them made Cain uncomfortable, but since they hadn't even glanced in his direction he abstained from shifting tables.

Cain blew out a frustrated breath. "Ain't never gonna find what we're looking for iffen we stay here, spose we should go check out Farthing's down the road." Seamus nodded, and took out his radio to signal the three other men position around the bar, when he suddenly stopped.

"Well looky here." Cain followed his eye line to the bar door. She was young, young enough that the little girl in her arms could be a much younger sister, since the woman didn't look a day over 19. Her confident hold of the child named her as the Mother, and the little girl was happily playing with a silver band on her left hand. Her long dark hair tumbled down her back, her red dress showing a very slim body, clunky combat boots making her legs look like sticks. The little girl had on a pretty party dress, the purple kind with ruffles that children wear as their Sunday best, and had on a tiny red cloak with a little red hood, matching her Mama.

They were perfect. All porcelain skin and dark eyes, with long lashes and perfect pink smiles between them. These weren't regular Rim girls, these were Core bred, stunning and fragile looking, and it didn't hurt at all that the mother looked so damn young. Her thin arms were clasped around her child, eyes calm and serene as she spoke in a hushed voice to the baby. A well matched pair, the little girl looking like a living doll with the rosy blush to her pale cheeks, the mother holding the baby close.

The woman seemed to have no particular direction, merely heading to the bar and asking for a glass of milk, which her daughter promptly swallowed. She took the baby to the edge of the dance floor, the little one giggling happily as her mother bounced her elegantly in time to the jaunty beat.

Cain and Seamus glanced at one another, then to their comrades around the room. All five men had spotted the bounty, knowing straight away that this was what they were looking for. The woman, after a little longer spent bouncing and dancing with the happily babbling baby, was slowly heading towards the door.

So focussed on their intent that they failed to notice the silence from the previously rowdy table, they stood quickly and began to follow her out. Staying some distance they signalled quickly to one another that the woman was turning down a dark alley, one they knew had no end. They heard her singing an aimless little tune, something about going to Grandmother's house?

Grinning now, they quickly turned the corner, each thinking excitedly about the take they were about to receive for this easy target. Cain thought he might even have a closer look at the mother on their journey to the brothel, and knew the other men had similar thoughts. They turned, hands remaining off their weapons so as to appear relatively trustworthy at first, moving quickly into the mouth of the alley…

Where they stopped dead. Four women, the mother amongst them, were aiming firearms at their heads. The tallest, a mocha skinned beauty who Seamus absently thought would fetch a high price on his home world, was standing in front of a little boy of about four, whose blue eyes looked at odds with the dark curls and coffee caste of his skin. The other two were smiling humourlessly at them, the one with the dark curling hair and blood red lips holding a bow strung taut and ready to fire. The taller woman spoke.

"Seems we caught us some hunters." Seeing the slightly feral glint in the eyes of the thin woman they had followed out, they began to back out of the alley, jumping when they heard a voice.

"Seems that way Zo', question now is what we're gonna do with them." They turned quickly, seeing the three men they had previously thought to be inebriated blocking their exit, the biggest standing right at the back. The slim man was holding a gun and lounging comfortably against one wall, while the leader, for the older man was unmistakably that, was standing in the centre, revolver pointed firmly at them. He continued speaking, drawling voice laced with hostility and anger.

"See, we reckon you're here on some unseemly business, and the kind folks of this town are paying us to do somethin' bout it. Course, I woulda done it fer free, but I ain't never said no to payment for justice." Their three useless comrades had held up their hands, looking frightened and pathetic.

Seamus turned back towards the women, who had slowly advanced, and noted that the other young one looked uncomfortable holding her weapon. He thought about nudging Cain, ready to make an impassioned plea to the slightly less fearsome woman, when her eyes narrowed with a hatred that looked inappropriate on such a sweet face.

"Don't think about it mister, I've heard what y'all do with kids." The slim one spoke, thin arm holding her weapon comfortably pointed right between his eyes.

"Shouldn't mistake sweetness for stupidity, woodsman." Seamus and Cain both raised eyebrows, while the large man at the back of the pack chuckled lowly in his throat. Cain finally spoke.

"We got people who'll come lookin' for us, could pay you better'n the townsfolk to let us go." The slim man snorted in disgust, shaking his head, as the leader looked on with barely disguised contempt.

"Ain't gonna be none of that, ain't nobody gonna come looking for ya." Seamus knew he was being honest, but played his card anyway.

"Our employer, he'll pay you real good, we can get him here now if need be." The leader shook his head.

"Naw, we already seen to yer man, ain't nothin' he can do now." He flung a capture at Cain's feet. He bent slowly, picking it up and holding it out so they could all see. The first image was of a corpse, but what could be done to create something so vile and distorted they had no idea. The large emerald ring on his left finger told them who he was. The next image was of the brothel, burning quickly, as small explosion went off around the base of it. The slim woman was watching on, a small smile on her face.

Seamus snatched away the capture and threw it to the ground, desperate not to see that horrible corpse again. The leader smiled.

"So ya see fella's, this here is the end of the line." The big man stepped forward at this, advancing on them, taking their weapons quickly and tossing them to the slim man, who bagged them. Then the big one, in whose eyes Cain noted an animalistic hatred bordering on insanity, looked around carefully, watching for someone.

"Safely packed away for now." The big one nodded at the slim woman who spoke, before turning back to the leader.

"Now?" The other man nodded.


He was so fast Seamus and Cain couldn't keep up, but where there had once been the three idiots they'd employed to help them obtain and transport the cargo, there were now only three corpses. Two had their necks broken, the last lying with half his jaw torn out. None of their watchers flinched. Seamus struggled to hold back the bile.

"What're you gonna do with me an' Cain?" The leader and the slim man had the queerest glint in their eyes as they slowly backed out on the alley. Three of the four women, the young boy trailing behind his mother, followed them out to the mouth. The slim woman walked behind a bin, picking up her daughter. She moved to the big man, who placed a quick kiss on the little ones head, before passing her over to the young woman with light brown hair.

The big man walked towards the others, but stopped and leaned against the far wall, nodding to the older man. The leader, still with that strange glint in his eye, a mix of fierce hatred and the smallest amount of pity, shrugged.

"We're gonna leave you fer her." They left.

Seamus and Cain turned towards the woman they had previously seen as prey. Without the child, with her weapon tucked into her boot, she looked frail and fragile, like the slightest wind could blow her over. But the lean legs stood strong, and the eyes were still calm and peaceful as she advanced slowly towards them. They'd never seen anything as terrible as that calm, peaceful look. The massive man was watching them intently, arms crossed comfortably across his chest, effectively blocking their exit. She smiled the strangest smile at them.

"Off to Grandmother's house we go."

They never found the bodies. There was nothing left to find.

Little Red Riding Hood prowls towards her den. She has washed off the blood and the screams, washed away the vile memories that had exploded from their minds like pus from an infected wounds, washed away the remnants of them. She looks in at her sleeping pup, touching her mind briefly, sensing no fear or discontent, just happy dreams of family.

She moves from the doorway towards the cargo bay, where her mate is lifting weights, venting his still hot burning anger on his own body. She trails silently down the stairs, into the darkness, slipping towards him. He senses her, sitting up and wiping the sweat from his bare chest, the fresh tattoo of Canis Lupus stretching with him. His eyes rake over her red silk nightgown, the small curves of her breasts and hips, down her long legs to her bare feet. She smiles, settling herself into his waiting lap, straddling his bench.

"Gotta say baby-girl, you definitely look better in red."

Red Riding Hood smiles as she rubs her face against her mate's stubbled jaw, enjoying the scratch of his fur. The Wolf holds her closer, his hands drawing her nightgown up as the run over her smooth thighs.

She knew the storytellers had it wrong all along.

The End

A/N: Ah children, sad to see this one finish, but I hope this little epilogue satisfies any need for more. Please review my darlings! Until next time Browncoats,

The Frisky Firelily