Inara had meant to arrive to the cafe early. She was used to being the queen in a kingdom of her own design; men arrived to wait upon her and for the honor of her company. It was quite surprising to see the man arriving nearly in tandem with herself. Siberius was arranging for a table for two when she entered, dressed impeccably and carrying himself with the confidence and guard of a man who'd both seen and organized battles. A refined version of the way Mal often carried himself.

"I hadn't expected to see you waiting," She laughed lightly from behind him. He didn't jump. His eyes had flickered back to her when she'd entered the room and while she was slightly upset he hadn't gushed at her arrival, she was also quite glad to be treated as casually as any person.

"To arrive on time is to arrive late," he turned to face her fully. The hostess gathered the menus from her podium and gestured for the duo to follow. "It is a lesson learned when I was very young."

"An excellent one," Inara smiled. She was nervous. She hadn't been nervous over a man since she'd become a fully trained companion. "I trust your journey was without strife?"

"The physical journey was quite smooth," Siberius pulled her chair out. Inara took her seat and her chair was pushed in smoothly by the doctor behind her. "My mental state was somewhat less at ease. There have been multiple calls from one of my elders."

"Is everything all right?" Inara asked.

"Nothing that cannot be cared for by another, though my post is being covered by someone I do not fully trust with life and death." Vaako took a breath and refocused on Inara. The look in his eyes as he'd spoken had made her wary. Made her tremble with something not unlike excitement. Her doctor wasn't like Simon with his calm bedside manner or Book with his patient grace. Siberius Vaako was a man who did what was needed to keep as many alive as he could. Now the look was calmer, subdued, but no less a part of his being.

"Which planet did you say you were from?" Inara asked.

"My family hails from Hala, in the Pama system."

"I thought that system had been destroyed by Annihilus during the last great age." Inara tried to bat away Kaylee's mention of the last great regent and of the ghost stories she'd learned as a child.

"It was. My family has lived on stations for the last several hundred cycles." Vaako gave her a smile. A small smile to be sure, but true and genuine. "My time is rarely spent on the surface of any planet. It was chance that brought me to you."

"I apologize, one of my associates has been filling my head with ghost stories of forgotten systems." Inara tilted her head and tried to keep her face calm, serene, and without the blush that continued to crawl up. "Siberius Vaako isn't a common name."

"My mother insisted. For all it's woes and scandal, the Vaako line is a proud one, and she took great care to remind us of that each day." Siberius looked at her with That look again. The one that told her she was going to give him a lot more than she wanted about her life. The one that assured her everything would be just fine. The look that promised she would be safe from life so long as she remained in his arms. "Do you ever visit your homeworld?"

"Xibalba? Gods no. It may be the only place in the universe that holds true to it's namesake." Inara took a sip from her water in an attempt to calm herself. "Place of Fear. During the first great exodus, the settlers crashed upon the planet and, condemning themselves to death, fell back onto early practices. Sacrifice, slavery, everything cruel and inhumane."

"Yet they survived," Vaako scowled.

"They did. And the beliefs grew. When Madrassa collected me to train as a companion I feared it was merely my turn to call the rains."

The waitress came to their table and orders were placed, Vaako ordering beef carpaccio while Inara settled for quinoa and greens. Fresh produce and real meat was not easy to come by in the black. As the waitress left Inara feared the conversation would continue down its dark path. It did not. Instead, he asked about her training and the friends she made. They spoke of childhood friends and of rivals. They spoke of dreaded music lessons with horrifying teachers.

~!~

Mal blinked at the 'family home' Jayne had insisted upon as a venue. Kept things outta the church, sure enough. Also had the room to house everyone. He was torn for a moment between turning to shout at Jayne for not saying something about his roots sooner and simply laughing outright that the gods could be so gorram ironic about everything.

"I think Jayne's got some explaining to do," Kaylee's voice echoed in Mal's ear. Maybe not echoed so much as she whispered into a deathly quiet little space. "Like why his momma don't live here. Hell, why don't he live here?"

"I don't live here 'cos Mattie does. And she gets control of the place 'til I get married or Ma dies." Jayne tugged his and Jack's baggage off of the mule and started for the house. "Damn girl went and got Power of Attorney over Ma last time she had one of her episodes, made sure to do it while I wasn't here. Then she up and signed Ma off onto one of the homes."

"Now that's crooked." Mal grabbed his own bag and followed Jayne into the manor house. "And you run around with us, fighting over cash because she cut you off, right?"

"I run jobs with ya'll because I like to hunt." Jayne faced the captain. "And I fight over money because I wanna make my own way." He paused for a moment. "Also because Mattie talked the lawyer's into cutting me off when I turned eighteen."

Now. This was the moment when Mal decided that he liked Jayne. The man had come from a background not too dissimilar to his own and while yes, Jayne was dumber than a box of hair and no, there wasn't a chance in hell he'd trust him with any great amount of money, they both'd come from a family that valued cash a little too much. Both with mommas that ended up in places that weren't good enough for them.

"Reckon I'm going to have a look around. See where everything is case we gotta make a hasty retreat."

"Sure," Jayne grunted as he started up the staircase. "Wedding ain't till Friday anyhow." That made the large man pause midstep and exhale loudly.

"Come Friday you'll be a married man Jayne," Mal smiled at the broad back of his son-in-law. "That's what, four days from now?"

Jayne turned and gave Mal a wide grin.

"Sure is Pop."

"Ai ya tien ah."

Dinner in the Cobb House was actually pretty relaxing. If you ignored the fact that Miss Mattie Cobb looked ready to shoot his eldest and skin Simon and Inara alive. Hell, she'd even given a cross look to Riv and Ricky. Not for long, but the look had been there.

"So, Jayne tells me you're a retired companion," Radiance smiled. Mal wasn't sure what had happened but she'd been released form the care home to stay in her own home again.

"Yes. I'm a consul now, visiting some of my sisters further out and helping prospective girls escape from less than favorable situations." Inara jumped when Maddy dropped her spoon into her bowl.

"And what constitutes as less than favorable?" Mattie asked. "Rim life?"

"Child abuse." Inara didn't miss a beat. She didn't allow Mattie to continue with the rant that had been building up behind her lips. "Slavery. The parts of life that no one wants to look too closely at. The people left to die on barren rocks while their parents spend their lives doing blow or stabbing needles into their arms." Inara gave Mattie a smile that couldn't be mistaken for kind or compassionate. "I believe the Guild rescued several such children from this planet in the last year."

The was an uncomfortable and charged silence at the table as the Cobb family gave one another looks of shame, anger, disgust, and finally determination.

"Well, once Jayne marries the estate goes to him," Radiance set her spoon down. "Maybe he'll be able to manage the charities better."

"I dissolved those," Mattie scowled. "Waste of money, time, and manpower."

"Those charities were set up by Julian Cobb when we first settled on this moon! I bet you'd close the hospital down if I wasn't in it." Radiance scowled at her soup and her mouth pursed tightly.

"Hell, she's probably got the paperwork all lined up." Jayne took a drink off of his whiskey. "Waitin' fer the moment you die."

Mal was not comfortable listening as his future in-laws fought over the fate of an entire moon. He wasn't happy to know that the Guild he'd disliked for so long did a helluva lot more good than bad. They coulda trained 'em up to be something other than painted and perfumed. Mal shook his head and went back to eating. Wash and Zoe were trying just as hard to Not be noticed by the Cobb family while Inara and Jackie seemed perfectly happy to get involved.

"It's uh, turning out to be quite the family dinner," Simon whispered to him. Mal looked up and the doctor was smiling. "It reminds me of home."

"Father and Mother fought over money often," River hummed. "He was quite the collector." Something crashed down by the Cobbs and Mattie stormed away from the table. "She is too. Lot's of pretty little horses and whores down in her stables."

The last sentence was spoken louder than the others and nearly everyone turned to look at River. The girl merely shrugged and resumed eating.

"I'm fairly sure we could find a way to get her control over your mother annulled," Book spoke up for the first time since they'd sat down for dinner. "A doctor's signature, perhaps a court order for reassessment."

"Yeah, the family lawyer's comin' by tomorrow for paperwork," Jayne frowned at his dinner. "Controlling the estate means controlling everyone involved in it too."

"'Cept you'll be needing someone to manage it while you're out in the black." Mal knew why Jayne was frowning so deeply. Regardless of what happened or who had their name on the deed, someone had to stay behind and keep an eye on life here. He knew it wasn't going to be Jayne either. The man liked exploring too much and Jack pretty much dictated where they went. "Course, having a place we can dock without much trouble from the locals sounds pretty nice."

Jayne grunted and Jack was trying to make herself eat while Radiance sipped at long cold tea.

"You know," Book held up a hand. "I have some friends here. Fellow priests, rabbi, several from my time before. It would be nice to settle down for a spell and visit them." The elder man smiled at Jayne and the air felt much calmer with it. "Traveling the 'verse with this crew, I feel as though I've packed several decades of adventures into just a year."

"It hasn't been a year has it?" Wash asked. He'd leaned back in his seat in shock and looked around the table. "Holy...Wow. Simon and River's year anniversary with us and Jayne and Jackie getting hitched. And there's a baby shower! This is an auspicious time!"

Somehow it was better. As simple as Wash speaking a few silly words regarding the good that had happened to all of them. Book would stay here on Santa Maria and mind the Cobb household while Jayne was out and about. Radiance would remain in the house as well and Mattie would...she'd do something and for all Jayne stressed how tricky she could be, the preacher swore that he'd been a very tricky man before joining the crew.

River approached Book after dinner. Her Beast was behind her in the shadows but he'd left her this moment.

"Grandfather's bones have decided to stay." She sat down on the couch beside him and waited for the words to come from his mouth. There were so many trying to get out all at once but the idea he wanted to get out was strong and it made her sad. Happy and sad because it meant he would leave. "We will come to visit as often as possible."

"I'm certain you'll have more things to do than loiter around this place," Book smiled at her. Grandfather had unpacked his luggage into one of the upstairs rooms and was now taking a few final passes through the ship to see if he'd left anything behind. "Besides, I can do more good here on a ranch than writing letters on a ship."

"You never send them," River smiled. "Not one. They are nice to read. She will miss them."

"That makes me very glad River," Book leaned forward and kissed her forehead. "Now, am I forgetting anything?"

"All the belongings meant to be in the new home are there," River nodded. "Getting acquainted with the wood."

"Good. I suppose we should get back over then, or, you and Richard are staying here, aren't you?"

For the first time since they'd crept onto the ship her Beast spoke up. They were staying on board because the house had a strange smell and the lingering discourse of the Cobb family. Although it would be harder to feign innocence when they busted Mattie's pens open later tonight.

"To my knowledge, there's nothing for you to bust open," Book smiled. "I'll make sure they're not on the books either."

"I think I like you Shepherd," Riddick grinned.

"It was only a few short decades ago that I was you," Book continued on his way to the house. "Covert missions, making deals that didn't happen with people who didn't exist for money that just disappeared. You and River will have a much easier time as partners than as solo agents."

Someone was coming up the stairs and into the kitchen. All three of them fell silent until Mal came in with a look of exhaustion on his face.

"The lord musta decided you didn't deserve no rest Shepherd," Mal sigh and he sat heavily in his normal seat. "Mattigan Cobb is a real piece of work."

"Jayne and I were discussing her before I left this morning," Book laughed. It was a somewhat sad sound though River could see the numbers and gears working in his mind. Three doctors were going to be invited to the wedding to observe the woman and papers would be signed by the end of the night. She would take her mother's place at the asylum.

"Here's to hopin' you make it through intact," Mal lifted a cup of tea. "Hate to be visitin' you in that asylum next time we roll through."

"I would hate to be there."

~!~

Jack felt ready to vomit.

She had the perfect dress. The weather was perfect. She was marrying the not-quite perfect man who was perfect for her. It was the perfect mother-in-law and the perfectly horrible sister-in-law. Her family was behaving as perfectly as they were able.

"Maybe you should sit," Zoe suggested. It wasn't so much of a suggestion though because Zoe was pushing jack down into her seat. "Have a drink."

Jack had a glass of champagne pushed into her hand and while she knew she shouldn't be drinking she still took a mighty gulp. It was nerves. Had to be. She was mighty glad Zoe and Inara were the ones in here with here. It wasn't anything against Riv or Kaylee but she really needed to be calm and Riv was out with her man making sure the rest of the wedding was close to calm -as in unarmed- while Kaylee was making sure the guests were calm -after being disarmed- as they took their seats.

Everything was calm, perfect, and running smoothly.

"Something is going to go very wrong," Jack groaned.

"One way or the other, you're going to be Mrs. Cobb and someone is going to end up drunk," Zoe smiled at her. "Someone will probably get into the weapons locker, Mattie is likely going to start a fight, and chances are someone is going to get shot."

"Just another day," Inara came over with the veil Jack would wear. "And in just a few minutes, we'll be sitting and watching it happen."

That was what terrified her. That was why her stomach clenched and tensed when Inara and Zoe walked with her to where Mal waited. The two women left for their companions, one with a comforting hand on her shoulder and the other leaving behind a delicate kiss on her forehead. Just Jack and her dad standing and waiting for the music to start.

"Not sure I'm entirely ready for this," Mal told her as he looked over her dress and maekup. "Eldest daughter gettin' hitched to a reasonably talented man. Didn't even get you under my name fore this all happened."

"You will always be Cap'n Dad," Jack took his hand in hers. Jayne hadn't told him. That little secret made the knot in her stomach loosen and a smile grow on her lips. Jack liked having a few secrets and surprises waiting and given Inara's new boyfriend was at the wedding, anything to keep Mal distracted would be a good thing. "And I would be honored to carry the name Reynolds."

"Ah well, now you're part of this fancy Cobb family," Mal grinned. She could tell he'd have said more on the subject but the music had started. "C'mon. Let's get this taken care of before Ricky and Riv start tryin' to cut on your sister's man or Mattie."

"I made sure Simon brought his medkit," Jack grinned at him as they passed through the front doors and down the grand staircase. All their guests from Mr. U to Monty, Jerry and Mingo, even couple of Inara's former companions were watching. Cobb family friends, Zisa and Matea, when everyone was gathered together like this all at once it made Jack wonder how she'd met so many amazing people in just a few years.

At the alter stood three men with varying states of grey hair, wrinkles, and warm smiles. Book, Rabbi Goldman, and Imam all standing patiently for her but not a one of them looked like her Jayne. Her Jayne who was standing in front of the alter and watching her arrival like a miracle. Her Jayne had polished himself up, trimmed his beard and combed his hair and wore his kipa in front of everyone for the first time since she'd known him.

Mal held her hand and walked her down to meet him until he couldn't hold her hand any longer. Until he had to do what ceremony dictated and hand her over to Jayne.

"Jayne Cobb," Mal extended his hand. Jayne did the same and after a short shake, passed Jack's hand to take the place of his own. "You mess this up and won't be a god in this world or the next can find all your pieces."

There was a light chuckle through the gathered guests and even Jayne grinned at the threat.

"I'm more 'fraid of her than you," Jayne nodded to Mal.

Mal nodded and moved to sit beside Zoe and Wash leaving Jack and Jayne standing before everyone and each other. She was certain they were speaking, all three offering prayers and anecdotes on love and commitment but through it all she could only see Jayne and her a few keys words. Words that echoed in his eyes and the hold on her hands. Love, honor, truth. Might be thieves and smugglers but there was one truth laid bare before them.

Then Jayne was lifting her veil and it was even stronger. His eyes were shining and she knew she was beginning to tear up.

"Now, I wouldn't begin to dream of asking Kyra Serra to obey any man," Book joked.

"Nor would I imagine Jack ever could," Imam agreed.

"And Jayne needs a strong woman to tell him exactly what to do," Goldman chuckled.

"Al we would ask of either of you is to love unconditionally."

"To respect one another's souls and minds."

"To cherish the time you have been given by our father."

"Always," Jayne spoke to her and not a once had she heard him speak so honestly in her life. "This world and every world after that."

"Every day until the stars burn cold," Jack put a hand to his face. "And every day after that."

"Well then, I do believe the tricky part is over," Book smiled as his bible rose to settle over his heart. Imam had done the same with the Quran and Goldman his Torah. "Unless anyone has any objections."

"Kyra Serra, you are now the good wife of Jayne Cobb," Imam smiled and nodded to her.

"And Jayne Cobb, you did something to deserve the title of husband to Kyra Serra," Goldman teased.

"Together, I now pronounce you Mister and Misses Reynolds."

Jack was seventy percent certain Mal had fallen out of his chair and ninety percent certain he was cursing as she and Jayne kissed. It wasn't their first kiss or as passionate as the many they'd shared, it wasn't even as tender as the kisses they gave one another after escaping a fire fight, but it was deep and emotional. It was special by virtue of it's very existence. Just like they'd always been.

"My Mrs. Reynolds," Jayne grinned at her after they broke away. The applause had died down and Mal was undoubtedly bright red. "Never though day'd come when I weren't Jayne Cobb."

"You will always be my Jayne," Jack kissed him lightly once more.

The priest, the rabbi, and the imam began congratulating them and thanking them for being a part of the ceremony. Not a one had ever been part of such a multi-faith ceremony before and each had been very excited to see the two settle down. Imam had never truly expected it of Jack and Goldman was certain they'd have to tie Jayne to a chair. Book had suspected something between them but not such a level of commitment until they actually touched down on the planet.

"But, this isn't a day about old men with books," Book smiled. "Go! Enjoy your party."

"Eat, drink, and be merry," Goldman agreed.

"You only have one wedding day Jack. I want you to enjoy yours." Imam looked over at his wife and daughter and bowed slightly before joining his family.

"His teeth gnash in anger to see the shadow so close." Riddick stood in the shadow while River danced as she would in front of him, beside him, and around him. "Troublesome for the shadow to have no clear intentions. His mind is filled with glittering mirrors and visions of Inavva."

"You sayin' he's here for her?" Riddick growled.

"The One True Bride," River hummed. "A mate to match him. She's dying."

"I know. Can't expect me to just let her walk into the arms of death. Fucker's been trying to take my head since he saw me."

An further discussion was cut off by the very couple they'd been discussing coming to join them. Inara had never looked so god damned happy and for the first time Vaako didn't smell like death and misery. They both smelled a little bit like patchouli.

"Used to hide the scent of rotting corpses in the 16th century of earth that was," River hummed as she contnued to sway beside Riddick. She paused just long enough to look at Inara with her disappointed face on. "Patchouli."

"Ah," Inara smiled lightly. Uncomfortable and trying very hard to impress that man who was lying to her face. "Siberius, this is Richard and Deana da Silva. Richard, Deana, this is Siberius Vaako."

"Fifth age Emperor of the Pama system," River blinked. Riddick could smell the shock and surprise in his tiny partner and feel it as her brain clicked all of the pieces together. "Unlucky."

"D's a bit of a history lover," Riddick grinned at Vaako. "Myself, think it's better to finish things and move on with my life."

"We have something in common," Vaako agreed with him. "I must admit, there was some irony in Inara's invitation as I settled my divorce. It is for her smile alone I came."

It was just this side of unsettling to see the necromonger commander look at Inara with that much commitment and honesty. Even through that patchouli scent he couldn't find a single lie in Vaako. Vaako who had always been honest even if it meant the wrath of the bastard who started this whole fucked up business.

"She is his reason," River sang from beside his elbow. "Come. She wishes to dance."

Dance and get the hell away from everything before a fight broke out. If only they were all that goddamn lucky. Riddick hadn't even moved before Mattigan Cobb started screaming by Jack and Jayne. Screaming all kinds of nasty things that made Riddick want to pick a fight with her real bad.

"Oh dear," Inara sighed. A delicate hand lifted to the bridge of her nose and the hand on Vaakos bicep tightened just a bit. Enough that Riddick knew how much pleasure and satisfaction was coming off of Vaako. "You may need to help Simon patch someone up in a moment darling."

"You a medic now?" Riddick asked Vaako as they moved over to the fight between Jayne and his sister.

"I was always a doctor," the man answered him.

Mattie was screaming again and this time Mal had come to join the fight. The woman was looking mighty pissed off and if it weren't for Jayne standing in between Mattie and Jack there would already be blood on the floor.

"Some core born whore forcing a turncoat's name onto our family!" Mattie screamed.

"Wondering if that ain't best damn thing happened to us," Radience snapped from beside Jack.

Riddick could see Zoe ready to step in and River was already starting to get a bit twitchy. She and Inara were just a few paces behind them and the entire room looked ready for the fight about to break out.

"I'll report you as dead," Vaako told Riddick as he pulled something from his pocket.

"Get down!"

~!~

Simon was beginning to understand why so many wartime doctors had scoffed at their student's injuries during med school. He was thankful he'd done as Riddick and Mal and Zoe suggested and brought his medkit to the wedding with him. He was glad he'd packed a pack stasis patches in with everything at the last minute. Despite ebing on a planet filled with doctors and nurses he had the bare bones at Cobb Ranch with him. The medical personnel of Elysium were tending to their own wounded while the military and medics of Santa Maria Luna were flying in or overhead to make sure there were no lingering Necromongers in atmo. It was bad enough there was one ship causing chaos in a city of the ill.

"I need you to keep an ear on his breathing," Simon told the woman sitting by Monty. Simon knew he'd have to change the stasis patch on his own ribs very soon. "If it starts to sound funny call me immidiately!"

He'd change it after he made sure the guests were alright. Some had run for their ships as fast as their legs would take them. Some had ducked for cover and some, like Mattigan Cobb, were not so lucky.

"Doc!" Riddick called over from where he stood with River. "Zoe's having a problem!"

"Wo Cao," Simon hurried over to the corner they were in. "Alright Zoe, just breath in. It's not time for them to come out."

"They seem to think so," Zoe gasped.

"Never seen anything bully you," Riddick growled as he held her hand. "The hell is your husband?"

"He's knocked out by what's left of the buffet," Simon began to sanitize his hands. "And for that I am thankful." He peeled Zoe's dress up and ignored the growing pain in his side. "Alright. Let's make sure the twins don't start too much trouble too early."

~!~

"They need you," Inara shouted as she ducked behind a tall pillar with him. "Simon is able to care for our wounded but Elysium needs your care."

"I cannot leave you alone," Siberius argued as she ran down a hall to another room. His men were having a good deal of fun flying by and attacking but that did not make him smile half so much as her demands. It was even more difficult to smile when she unlocked the door to the weapons room and took her rifle from it's resting place.

"I will be fine." The soft skin of her palm came to rest on his cheek. "We will meet again, I know it. Even if it isn't in this world."

"I will see you in one month," He promised. His men ropped another bomb somewhere further into the city and he could see the fighter ships of Santa Maria coming in to fight them off. "In this lifetime."

"Go, protect Elysium!"

She ran before he could take her but taking her now would break everything for them.

He reflected on her words as he sat in his quarters. He'd taken an image of Riddick shortly after the blast and it would be enough to assured the current Lord Marshal of the Furyan's death. How strange to have two women at such opposite ends demanding he save the same thing. There was of course no way Inara could have known his plans to become Lord Marshal and take them to the Underverse but to hear her command it's rescue and rebuilding was a sign. In his mortal life Elysium had been the name of the afterworld. A world for the worthy, for warriors and heroes who died with honor. Perhaps that was wh he'd taken so easily to the Necromonger way. It paralleled with that of his previous life. Hearing Inara, his true bride, demand that he become it's savior had hardened his will.

"Your bride yet remains with her family." The Purifier was vexing at the best of times.

"She does. It is the wedding of her last relative."

"Such an auspicious day should not be marred by death," The purifier agreed. "Though, the death of the Furyan did occur."

"He will trouble the Lord Marshal no longer." Vaako slid the image across his desk to the purifier. "How are the new converts?"

"Some resistence, naturally. Less than would have occurred had they been of sound mind."

"Will they survive the process?"

"You worry for your bride. Rightly so for her illness is one that devours the physical form." The purifier was undoubtedly watching as Vaako's knuckles grew white and his jaw tightened. "If her will to see the underverse is strong and her soul's bond to yours as unbreakable as death, she will emerge unharmed by the conversion process." the Purifier began to leave only to pause at the doorway. "Stories will be told of your bond. The Bride of Death."

"My Bride is not a tool," Vaako fixed the Purifier with a hard scowl. Was he aware of Vaako's plans?

"Not yet. But conversion is much easier with the promise of undying love." The purifer left and Vaako locked his chamber doors to prevent another interruption. The Bride of Death was such an ominous sounding title. Yet there he was, stealing her away from her trip into the Underverse that they might go together. It was a fantasy his mortal sister would have liked. The sort of thing he as a young boy would have scorned and secretly hoped for. The story would be a very good tool for conversion and controlling the wanderers.

"A promise of love," Vaako whispered into the black. "Next month, you will be mine."

~!~

"Bedrest and deep breaths," Simon stressed to Zoe as she carefully stood up from the examination table. He'd lowered it just for her to reduce the amount of strenuous activity since the wedding. "The twins are just fine but you need to recover."

"You saying I'm unhealthy?" Zoe asked.

"I'm saying you're a smuggler and former soldier." Simon wasn't going to be daunted by her this time. "Your body will eventually make a choice if you take too much trauma and it won't be the one you want."

"You tell Hoban any of this?" Zoe asked as she adjusted her maternity dress.

"No. Because I know he'll go overboard and the stress he inlficts will do more harm than good."

The redheaded man could be heard coming their way now and Simon sincerely hoped she followed his advice.

"Think I'll let him make me some tea," Zoe nodded. "Better check on that wound of yours doc. Take your own advice."

Simon fought the urge to roll his eyes only to give in a breath later. During the attack he hadn't had much of a chance to look it over but after it was the latest joke of Serenity. Only Simon could get shot by a stationary object. He hadn't been shot so much as part of a statue broke off and stabbed him through. A statue of Artemis that had survived the exodus from Earth that was had been just beside him during the first wave and the goddess's arrow had loosed and gone through his flesh. Now he was left tending to his wound or else letting Riddick and River see to it. Between the three of them it was healing nicely but the stitches were terribly uneven and he would certainly scar.

At least he was an offcial member of the crew now.

~!~!~!~!~

I know! It's been forever and I can no longer justify my lack of updates on my cross country move; I moved to NY from CA last May. As in 2015. And now I'm moving back in April. It's too cold here.

Also, I'm skipping War Stories. There's no point to it now that I've made Zoe preggo and Wash is happy to know she's his. Plus I need to get Inara kidnapped and the Chronocles storyline moving asap.