Space Wizard

AN: It was almost a unanimous decision on which girl Harry should be paired with, I wonder if I should tell or just leave it for a surprise. On with the story.

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Firefly; they are the property of J.K. Rowling and Joss Whedon.

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Harry and Mal shook hands with Big Dave on his porch saying their farewells.

"Tell your Doctor no hard feelings huh? I don't think he noticed the gun wasn't loaded." Big Dave said shaking Mal's hand and almost dislocating his shoulder.

"Don't worry about the Doc, I think me and Harry are going to feel the brunt of his displeasure." Mal said.

"No doubt about it, he already doesn't like me so I'm more likely to get it worse than even Mal." Harry said.

"Well it was your idea." Mal said "Anyway, we'll send you a wave once the jobs done."

Big Dave nodded his bald head, "If all goes well, it won't be a big stink about this, not even a blip on the news bands. You boys be careful."

Mal and Harry turned and made their way back to Serenity, it was a silent walk until they were halfway there. "Since you brought the job to us, it's your show. We'll run it however you lay it out…within reason."

"Geez Mal, it sounds like you expect me to go in there guns blazing." The wizard said with a grin.

"Truth be told Harry, that wasn't a far off thought."

"Well put your mind at ease, I promise once we're done the building will still be standing."

"That did nothing to reassure me." Mal said giving Harry a side long glance.

Harry ignored the look, "I've been thinking on it, so far I'm seeing four of us on the ground and River in the pilots chair to get us out of there."

"Sounds good, we'll have a better idea of what we're dealing once we get to where we're going."

They went to back to companionable silence as they entered the docking bay and the ramp rolled up behind them.

"You get us in the air and I'll round up everybody." Mal ordered.

Nodding in ascent Harry went to the bridge, when he got there River was in the co-pilots seat with her knees drawn up to her chest. Harry took the Captains seat and fired up the engines. "You think Simon's still upset?"

"He's been strangling you in his mind for the last 30 minutes."

"That answers that, did you get any sleep?" He asked her.

"A couple of hours, it's usually all I get without meds." She said quietly.

"Learning to keep people out of your mind is going to be mentally taxing; it's best if you get natural sleep even if only a couple of hours."

"When can we start?" River asked eagerly.

"We can start after the crew meeting about our next job." They were a silent pair as Harry guided the ship off Balboa and towards Tian, a Rim planet a couple of days away. They had just cleared the atmosphere when Mal came over the loud speaker.

"Harry just put her in hover in an out of the way spot for now, then you and River come down to the kitchen."

Harry triggered the loud speaker, "We'll be there in ten."

When everyone was gathered around, Mal took out the data pad he got from Big Dave, "Our target is Edgar Poly, known as Roly Poly to his friends." Mal flipped to a picture of Edgar Poly then passed it around for everyone to get a look.

Edgar Poly was a man in his late 60s with a head full of all white hair slicked back like he just came out of the shower. It was easy to see how he got the nick name Roly Poly, he couldn't be more than 5 and a half feet tall and everything about him was round, from his round head to his round body to his round legs. If he was sitting down he would look like an unfinished snowman.

"Ain't that a colorful getup he's wearing?" Jayne said when he got a look.

It was true; in the picture Mr. Poly was wearing a lime green over coat with a matching tie, a red and green striped shirt and purple pants.

"Oh god, my eyes hurt looking at that monstrosity." Inara said turning away from the photo.

"That poor dog." Zoe lamented.

The dog Zoe was referring to was tucked into the crook of poly's right arm and it was wearing a matching sweater to Poly's jacket.

Mal broke in before the conversation could carry on, "Anyways, Poly has quite a few investments on Tian, his biggest cash cow is a casino called the Golden Clover."

"Sir, isn't that a bit ambitious? We don't have the manpower to knock over a casino." Zoe said.

"We're not going after the casino; we're going after Poly himself." Harry said from his spot next to Mal.

"Now this ain't our regular type of caper, but if we pull this off, we're looking at 300,000 cash money, minus %10 to Big Dave." Mal said with a smile.

"How bad we got to kill the guy for that kind of scratch? Do get to bring Vera?" Jayne asked rubbing his hands together.

"It's not that kind of job Jayne." Harry said.

"What kind of job is it? We ain't talking pocket money." Kaylee said.

Harry and Mal exchanged looks before Mal stepped and gestured to Harry that he had the floor. "You brought us the job, you explain it."

Taking a breath Harry laid out the job and his plan to pull it off. The longer he talked the farther their jaws dropped. When he finished it was as silent as empty space.

Jayne stood up, "I have to go think about all my life decisions up to this point." He said and walked away.

"Wow" Inara said also getting to her feet. "Just wow." Then following Jayne's example she retreated to parts unknown.

Zoe opened and closed her mouth several times before coming out with a simple "Sir?"

"Come on Zoe are we in this for the glitz and glammer or to stay in the air?" Mal asked a little indignant at the responses he was getting for a well-paid job offer.

"You're right and I'm fully behind doing the work, but still."

At least she didn't walk away.

Simon stood with a big smile on his face "I'm suddenly feeling a lot better, if anyone needs me I'll be in the infirmary."

Kaylee jumped up stammered something about checking the engine and raced out of the room.

A barely contained snicker drew all eyes to River who had her hand covering her mouth with unshed tears of mirth in her eyes. "Et tu River?" Harry asked solemnly.

That was all it took for River Tam to give over to her laughter.

Harry walked away with his shoulders slumped, he did it purposely to give River a little something extra to laugh at. It worked because a new round of laughter followed him all the way to the bridge. He was only alone for a minute when River came in wiping away her laughing tears. He smiled at her over his shoulder.

"Thank you for that."

"No problem, I would be a disgrace to the Marauder name if I couldn't laugh at myself."

"Marauder?" River asked taking the co-pilots chair once again.

"It was a nickname my dad and a group of his friends came up with while they were in school. They were famous for being pranksters." Harry set the Nav-system for Tian, when he confirmed they were on the right track, he switched on the auto-pilot and turned to River. "Are you ready to get started?"

"More than ready."

"Okay, give me a second." Harry left the bridge; he came back carrying two folded chairs and placed them in the center of the room. He beckoned River over to one while he sat in the other. "I snuck a peek at Simon's files about your condition, most of it was scientific gibberish but I got the gist of it, which was they completely removed the filter that would have given your mind a reprieve from the constant bombardment of everyone else's thoughts right?"

River nodded shakily, "From as far back as I could remember, I've always heard tidbits and snippets of thoughts here and there, but it wasn't until after they cut into my brain that I starting hearing everything all the time."

Harry nodded in sympathy, "How bad is it now? I know it's still hard on you but on a scale of 1-10, 10 being after the Alliance first operated on you."

"10" she replied easily.

"I'm going to have a look for myself to see what we're dealing with. Brace yourself, I'm going to pull back my dampening field, it's just so I can get the full effect." Harry added quickly when her eyes widened in panic. Harry scooted to the edge of his seat, "Take a deep breath, now let it out slowly, good and another." Harry voice gradually took on a slightly hypnotic tone.

"You're doing well; but you're still a little tense. Look in my eyes River." Harry said softly framing her face in his hands. "What color are my eyes?"

"Green" she said softly.

Harry smiled softly, "Is that the best you can do to describe them?"

"They're like a cut emerald."

"I got them from my mother; I've always heard I was an exact double of my father except for the eyes. Keep describing them." As he spoke Harry's hands slowly slid to the sides of River's throat, he used his thumbs to rhythmically massage her carotid artery.

"I've noticed…" River started to say but trailed off.

"What have you noticed?" Harry asked softly.

"I've noticed that your eyes sometimes reflect your mood. When I came in earlier they were bright with laughter, they shined like they were being held up against the sun. Other times when you're deep in thought they're very dim like someone is closing a fist around them."

"I hadn't realized I was that easy to read." From deep within him a lyrical trilling started up.

River's forehead scrunched up slightly before she asked "Do you hear a bird singing?"

"Beautiful isn't?" Before she could answer Harry slipped into her mind. Harry could have easily gotten into River's head without having to put her under the slight hypnosis, but he didn't want to chance her going into shock or seizing up from the deliberate intrusion before he could assess the damage. Even if he gave her a warning before delving into her mind her instinct to protect herself would be strong enough that Harry would have to make repeated attempts or to fight and over power her mind which wouldn't be good for anyone.

So with Fawkes keeping her conscious mind relaxed with his song, Harry was free to slip in unnoticed. When Harry's metaphysical feet hit the ground he was in a dark tunnel, in the distant he could hear muffled screaming and he could see a shaft of light showing him the way. The closer he got to the light the louder and clearer the screams became. When Harry stepped out of the dark tunnel he was surprised to see that River's mindscape was the Roman Coliseum and it was packed. He flinched when the volume of the crowd increased to deafening levels; Harry looked around frowning and wondered how the hell River could survive all these voices at once, he had a new respect for the young Tam, she was obviously magnitudes stronger than she was given credit for.

Harry was still looking around the stadium wondering how he was going to begin helping River clean up her mind when he saw her.

Kneeling in the center of the stadium in a stained white dress with her hands clamped over her ears and her eyes screwed shut was River.

Harry had never seen anything so heart wrenching in all his years. For River, to have to deal with this day in and day out and still be semi functional was amazing. He resolved himself then and there to do anything in his power to help River put an end to her suffering. Harry started walking towards River and the closer he got the more muted the crowd got.

Noticing the noise was lessening, River opened her eyes and looked around. Harry was walking towards her; determination in his every step. When he was finally standing in front of her and the voices were completely silent again, she threw herself against his chest and cried in joy.

Harry held her and allowed her mental image of herself to cry into his chest. He pulled away and looked into her tear streaked face. "I'm going to help you River, I promise, I'm going to do everything in my power to help you."

"How?" she asked desperately "Look at this, my heads a mess."

"The first thing you have to do is take charge of your mind. Look at you," Harry gestured at her dirty peasant dress.

River looked down at the filthy dress and pulled at the frayed hem in embarrassment.

"This is your mind, you make the rules, but here you are wallowing in misery, in the dirt like a slave. Look at them" Harry pointed at the screaming savage faces of the crowd. "You're stronger than them River, you've already proven that because you haven't given in and fallen off the deep end completely." Harry gently grabbed her by the shoulders "You chose the Roman Coliseum as your mindscape, so where should you be?"

They both turned and looked at an empty balcony where Emperors and Nobles would preside over special events.

"Where should you be River?" Harry asked again.

Right in front of him the change started, the miserable defeated look was gone. In its place was determination and a good amount of pissed off. Then they were no longer in the center of the stadium, they were in the balcony. She even changed their clothes, River was now wearing a pure white short-sleeve tunic and over that was a navy blue stola (1) around her waist was a pure gold chain link belt. Her hair was done up in a bunch of intricate curls and piled on top of her head and decorated with jewels of different kinds. Harry was given an elaborate toga as well, with the end piece that draped across his chest being the same color green as his eyes.

The noise had returned and they were now right in the thick of it, but River didn't falter she stood tall with her head held regally and her back straight. He watched her as she scanned the crowd; he knew she found what she was looking for when her eyes narrowed. Appearing in the center of the stadium was a man in a black suit and tie, starched shirt and blue gloves.

"What are going to do?" Harry asked.

A loud roar silenced the screaming crowd, leaping from an underground cell a gargantuan tiger galloped out and raced towards the now fleeing and terrified man in blue gloves.

"When in Rome." River said with a smile.

With another roar the tiger had finally caught it and began dragging it kicking and screaming back to its enclosure. It was only after that spectacle was over that Harry noticed the previously ravenous crowd was now utterly silent. He smiled and slipped out of River's mind. When Harry came back to himself River was already in his arms thanking him over and over again. "It's a start, we're in this together now, and I'm not going anywhere."

Harry let her cling to me him while he rubbed her back reassuringly. After a while her breathing evened out signaling she was asleep. Harry set out his senses to make sure no one was nearby, and then he picked River up bridal style and flashed them to her bunk. After tucking her in to bed Harry flashed back to the bridge.

"You're a little shook up Harry, how bad was it?" The fire bird asked from within Harry's mind.

"That is one strong woman Fawkes. She has so many memories and thoughts going at once, anyone one else would have killed themselves to escape it by now or at the very least be a vegetable."

"Is that admiration I hear?"

"You're damn right I admire her." Harry thought back mentally. "We've only scratched the surface so far, I didn't see any specific memories just a lot of screaming voices and faces. She managed to silence one and that seemed to give her a reprieve."

"It sounds like this girl is going to need a lot of work Harry, if the damage is really as extensive as you think it is we're talking possibly years of mental training she is going to have to undergo."

"I've got time."

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It was slow progress with River but progress none the less. There was a minor set-back, according to River, after she woke up from her first session the voices had come back with a vengeance, seeming louder than ever. Harry was glad to see that instead of regressing, she was more determined to silence each and every one for good, especially after her first bit of success.

They had landed on Tian a short while ago; it was silent throughout Serenity, it was the calm before the storm. Harry was in the docking bay with a small arsenal spread out on a work table in front of him. He was scraping a stainless steel throwing knife against a whetstone when Zoe came in toting a 3ft long black case. She took one look at his table and smiled.

"Boys and their toys."

"Oh come on Zoe," Harry said with an answering grin. "You know you want to play with them."

She didn't say anything just sat opposite him at the table; she undid the latches on the case and flipped up the lid.

Harry whistled appreciatively, nestled in the gray foam of the case was a Bronson Convert Sniper rifle. It was the latest and greatest from the Bronson fire arm company, it was called a convert because it was capable of firing laser rounds or .50 cal bullets with equal accuracy. "Aiya! How did you get your hands on that gem?"

"I know some people that know some people." Zoe said smirking at the jealous glint in Harry's eyes.

"You know that's such a big gun for a delicate space flower such as yourself, why don't you let me hold on to that?" Harry said teasingly reaching for over the table for it.

Zoe was quick to rap him on the knuckles with the flat side of a knife she pulled from nowhere. "Hands off, this is mine and you can't play with it."

"Meanie" Harry said sticking his tongue out at her. Harry picked up the throwing knifes he was working on and went to stand in front of a stack of crates he had set up earlier. He stood about 20 feet back, he threw them in quick succession one after the other. 'Thunk, thunk, thunk'

"What have you been up to in the passing years?" Zoe asked as she broke down the Bronson for maintenance.

"Same as always, travel, work and travel some more." He answered as he retrieved his weapons. "I tried to stay grounded in one spot a couple of times, but the longest that ever lasted was 2 months before I was back in space."

"You're a mystery Harry, you spent a year on Serenity and it felt like a life time. Now your back and I realize I didn't really know you that well before you left." Zoe's voice was laced with curiosity.

'Thunk, thunk, thunk' "Well I'm a semi opened book. What do you want to know?"

"Something easy, where'd you learn to fly?"

"Nowhere really, I'm a natural, some people said I got from my father, he loved to fly same as me." Harry replied easily.

Zoe turned to look at Harry with a raised eyebrow, "I thought your folks died when you was a babe?"

"They did, but I heard this second hand from his friends and people that knew him. They said he was a natural flyer too and that he loved to showboat. But when it counted he could do some of the most amazing things in the air and make it look easy." Harry said.

"What was your mom like?"

"I got two things from my mother, these eyes." Harry said pointing at his face "and a bad temper. She wasn't quick to anger, but when she did lose it, you'd want to dig a foxhole and wait it out."

"Sounds like my type of woman." Zoe said turning back to her rifle maintenance.

'Thunk, thunk, thunk' "You mind if I ask you a personal question Zoe, like really personal?"

"I don't mind you asking, no guarantee I'll answer." She said guardedly.

Harry retrieved his knives then went back to the table and sat across from his old friend. "Fair enough, how are you doing?" he didn't have to say anything beyond that. That was a standard question to ask someone after suffering a loss like Zoe's, she probably heard thousands of times by now.

Zoe's fingers paused as they were reassembling the Bronson, her lips stretched in a sad half smile. "I knew that was coming eventually." She sighed sadly "I'm doing better as time passes; I've forgiven myself and Wash. I was angry at him for dying and angry at myself for letting him die. Now'n days I can think about him and not have it hurt so much. My only regret is that we had so little time together."

"It's never enough time. 100 years or 1,000, it was never gonna be enough." Harry said quietly.

Zoe saw that Harry's eyes had gone vacant like he was looking off in the past. 'Was Harry married before?' Zoe suddenly thought. He never so much as hinted that he had ever tied the knot before. She was about to ask him straight out when Jayne yelled down from the upper deck.

"Cap'n wants us all in the dining room right quick, said he wants to put the final touches on tonight's plans." He said before going back the way he came.

Zoe and Harry silently packed up their weapons and went to meet the rest of the crew. They were the last to enter; Mal was standing in front of the vid screen looking at the different angled shots of Poly's property that he got from Big Dave. It was a big square white house in the middle of a large spread of grassland. Leading to the front door was a paved road and on either side of the road was a manicured lawn and bush sculptors of dogs, at the end of the long driveway was a tall iron gate with equally tall stone walls. Providing a natural defense was a densely populated forest on the East and South sides of the property and protecting the West was a small mountain range with a jagged Cliffside.

"As far as security goes it's not very high-tech. Mr. Poly relies mainly on the terrain's natural defenses and his 8 permanent guards to keep the bad element away. There are only two cameras pointing outside and they're at the top of the front gate." Mal hit a button on the vid frame. The scene changed to a recording of the guard's positions and check points. "Three guards roam the outside of the property with hourly check-ins. There's a guard room on the Southwest side of the house, 3 guards inside watching monitors; that leaves two upstairs guarding Poly's door all night. We go in after the midnight check-in which gives us an hour window of opportunity." Mal clicked off the vid screen off and turned to the rest of the crew.

"Little darling what's your part in this?" he asked.

"Lift and clear radar range before circling back around to hover near Poly's place." River answered promptly.

Mal nodded "Kaylee, what do you do before River gets back in radar range?"

"Switch out Serenity's transponder signal, with a fake just in case someone's keeping track."

"Shiny. How bout the ground crew?" Mal asked.

"Enter from the East, take out the guard then meet up with you at the back door." Harry said.

"Alright we're 3 for 3. Zoe?"

"I'm watching your backs from the cliffs on the West side; making sure the North side guard doesn't get trigger happy." Zoe replied professionally.

Jayne rolled his eyes; they had gone over this 20 times already. "I go in with you from the South end; once we get inside I take out the guard room and keep an eye out for the last two guards while you empty the vault."

"Inara?"

"Make sure the ramp is down and the doors are opened because you will be coming in hot."

Jayne giggled.

"Really Jayne?" Inara said irritated.

"You said it not me."

"Enough of that. Doc?" Mal said to Simon.

"Stand by in the infirmary."

"Alright and last step is evac. If all goes well, we'll be in and out and away from there in under half hour, we'll leave the same way we came only a lot faster. But if things go wrong." Mal said looking to River.

"Pick up Zoe and the mule first then swing down on to the driveway for the rest of you."

Mal eyeballed his crew and after a minute he nodded to himself, "That's about as ready as we're going to get, everyone get some sleep. It's going to be a long night."

With that ringing endorsement the meeting broke up.

Hours later it was almost the magic hour. After Zoe dropped him off quite a distance away, Harry had inched his way slowly under the cover of darkness to his current spot. He was lying on his stomach hidden in the dark shadows of the tree line eyeing the slowly pacing guard that was his target. He stole a glance at his watch 11:59.

"Check in time, Carlo?"

"This is Carlo, all clear."

"Roy?"

"All clear" Harry's target spoke into a microphone attached to his shoulder. As soon as he released the mike button Harry fired. The guard squawked in surprise and then collapsed forward with a tranq dart in his neck. Harry pressed a finger to his ear, "East side guard down."

"South-side guard's down, get moving."

Harry stashed the tranq gun in the duffle bag he had slung across his body and ran full out from the shadows to the back corner of the house were hopefully Mal and Jayne would be meeting him soon.

Harry peaked around the corner and sure enough, two figures were silhouetted in the moonlight headed for the back door. Harry pressed a finger to his ear again. "I'm coming around the East-side corner now."

"I see you; we'll meet you at the back door." Mal said back immediately.

Seconds later the three members of Serenity were crouching together around an out of date security key pad with a flashing red light. Mal punched in the code 7946, the light turned green and then the lock clicked, Jayne carefully turned the knob and looked around the door jamb, seeing that it was all clear he waved Mal and Harry in to the kitchen.

The kitchen was all stainless steel counter tops and appliances; it looked like a professional chef's wet dream. They didn't stick around to admire the décor; they headed for the darkened hallway only stopping long enough for Jayne to split off and go for the guard room.

Mal and Harry opened a door just off the kitchen that led down to the cellar. It was cold almost freezing, they kept walking until they came to a big steel door that looked like it belonged on a bank vault. On the wall next to the door was another keypad with another flashing red light '7946' another green light went on, Harry spun the wheel in the center of the door until it clicked, and Mal had to help him pull it open it was so heavy. Just as it was big enough to walk in red lights and klaxons started blaring loud enough to rupture eardrums.

When Harry took his hands from his ears he could hear the faint crackle of gunfire being exchanged. Harry thrust his duffle bag at Mal "Fill it up, I'll go help Jayne!" he yelled over the blaring sirens. Harry raced to the top of the cellar steps pulling his side piece as he went; at the top of the stairs Jayne was crouched on the opposite side of him firing towards the front door. The return fire took chunks out of the wall Jayne was hiding behind but Jayne himself was unharmed if that goofy grin was anything to go by. "What happened, how did the alarm get triggered?"

"That sleep grenade doesn't work as fast as it's advertised, instead of falling down and taking a nap, those bastards started staggering around and one of them hit the alarm." He paused to squeeze off a quick salvo. "I just seen one of them upstairs guards so far, number two is probably staying with the fat-man."

There were no sirens on the top floor just gun shots, he tapped his ear piece "Zoe, what's happening outside?"

"Nothing, I got the lone guard pinned behind some bushes, he's not going anywhere." She said calmly. "River's on her way, I can see the ships lights, I'm hightailing it back to the mule, we'll be ready for your pick up in 5 minutes."

"That's good to hear, Mal should be finishing up, we'll meet you out front." Just as he said that Mal was coming up behind him with a full duffle bag. "We get it?"

Mal patted the bulging bag, "We got it." He said with a smile.

"Okay, we got pick up in 4 minutes. Jayne the next time he stops to reload we're going to rush him. I'll take point, and then Mal and then you bring up the rear."

"That'll work for me." Jayne said dropping a clip and putting in a fresh one.

"I'm right behind you Harry." Mal said

Harry waited for the bullets to stop pinging into Jayne' hiding spot, he didn't go out until he heard the distinct 'thump' of an empty magazine hitting the floor. He sprang from the cellar door and strode out from his hiding place firing a steady stream of bullets at the guard. Whether he was surprised that Harry would make such a large target of himself or the fact that there was another shooter was unknown, but his eyes widened before diving out of sight behind the wooden banister of the staircase that led to the second level.

Harry heard the slam of a heavy door near where the guard retreated to. When he cleared the banister Harry saw a heavy wooden door straight ahead and emptied a clip into it. He pulled open the front door and motioned for Jayne and Mal to go ahead of him while he watched their backs. Harry walked backwards towards Serenity's ramp reloading as he went; he kept his eyes on the front door just in case that guard tried to get off a desperation shot. A muzzle flashed off his left and pain seared his arm. 'That sneaky bitch.' Harry thought with gritted teeth before emptying his clip on the window the guard fired from. When his gun was empty Harry ran the short distance to Serenity's ramp.

"River we're clear, get us out of here!" Mal ordered through the P.A.

They weren't out of the woods yet, there was still a chance; things good go from bad to worse. 15 nerve racking minutes later, River's calm voice came over the P.A. "No pursuits or law waves, we're clear Captain."

There was a round of applause and laughter for a job well done. The good cheer moved from the docking bay to the dining area where Mal called Big Dave with the good news. "Hey Big guy, guess who?"

"Hey Mal how'd things turn out?"

"We made a little noise getting out but that's it." Mal said shrugging off the fire fight.

"And the codes and the guard rotations were still good weren't they?" Big Dave asked with a knowing smirk.

"You were absolutely right, he was too arrogant to change the codes or his routine after he fired you and that just caused him $300,000."

"You said it, y'all lay low while I sort out the meeting place, it will be nearby so don't go too far."

"I'll wait to hear from you." Mal said and ended the call.

"I still can't believe we did this job." Jayne said "All this trouble for that" he said pointing at the bulging duffle still slung around Mal's body.

"Not this again." Mal growled.

"I haven't felt this low since I dumped that payola on dem mudders on Canton. I've done jobs from kidnapping to banks but I ain't never been desperate enough to still frozen dog splooge." Jayne said in disgust.

"Doc, take these…specimens and put then on ice will ya?"

Simon took the bag from the Captain and he and Kaylee walked off down the corridor towards the med ward glad the exciting part was over.

"Harry help me out here." Mal looked for his dark haired co-conspirator, but was left to explain things by himself.

"He took a hit as he was getting on the ramp; he probably went to tend to it." Zoe explained.

Mal sighed and tried to explain it to the simple gun hand. "Jayne that's how Poly made enough money to fund his casino, people pays big money for pure bred dogs. Big Dave said Poly had his dog neutered some while ago and what Simon is putting in his med freezer was his insurance policy, now we got it and he's gonna pay to get it back."

"I don't know Mal it don't sound…honorable."

"Jayne think about it like this. I'm gonna put honor in your one hand and then I'm gonna put $38,000 in the other, which one of those do you expect the ladies'll like you more for?" Mal asked.

"Well why didn't you just explain it like that before? Here I am, doubting my existence and there's money to be spent on booze and whores." Jayne said shaking his head in disappointment at his Captain. While Inara and Zoe laughed at Jayne's abrupt about face.

Mal massaged his temples to stave off the incoming headache.

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Harry eyed the wound on his arm, it was more of a graze really, and the bleeding had already stopped. He looked at the other scars he collected. There was one from a knife across his stomach just above his navel. There was a bullet wound in his right bicep, a laser burn on his right hip and a few more. After his bonding with Fawkes, Harry didn't scar unless he wanted to. Every scar he kept was from one of the many fights he had been in over the years. The scars kept him grounded, it kept his arrogance at a distance. With all the power at his disposal as well as experience, it's possible if he put in the effort he could do some real damage across the Verse. But that's not what he wanted, he didn't want to be a behind the scenes manipulator like Dumbledore and he didn't want to conquer any worlds like Voldemort. Every scar was a reminder that he could bleed and he could hurt like the rest of the Verse. It was a reminder of his humanity.

The door to Harry's swooshed open.

"I figured you wouldn't go to the Doc about that so I brought you a med kit." Zoe said stepping in to the room.

"It's only a scratch, no reason to bother the good doctor for a band aid." Harry said rummaging in his bag for disinfectant spray even if he didn't need it.

"Here" Zoe said holding out a bottle.

"Thanks, so what's the word?"

"The Cap'n got word to Big Dave; he figures we'll be on stand by for a couple of days before the exchange goes down. So for now we just drift and wait for the call." She explained.

"Sounds good." Harry fixed a bandage to his arm and turned back to Zoe to hand back the disinfectant.

Her eyes strayed to his left pec, to the tattoos there. There were two of them, a large crescent moon and laying on the bottom of that moon in a relaxed pose was a lioness.

"She must have been something special." Zoe said softly.

"They…they were something special."

Zoe looked at him with a raised eyebrow but no judgment.

"There was never a ceremony but the three of us were married in our eyes and in our hearts."

"100 years or 1,000 isn't enough time huh?" she said repeating his own words from earlier back to him.

"No it isn't."

Harry held Zoe's gaze and lowered his head slowly seeking her lips, he wouldn't rush her, if this wasn't something she wanted than it would just be one of those things that was never talked about between friends.

Zoe surprised him when she closed the gap between their lips, she attacked with intensity and after a brief hesitation he joined her in the back and forth battle for dominance. One of his hands snaked around her slim waist while his other hand palmed the back of her head through her curly locks.

They separated and looked into each other's eyes. Smokey hazel eyes looked into calm emerald greens for several seconds before they came together again with even more ferocity. Harry unbuckled Zoe's brown vest, pulled it off her shoulders and dropped it to the floor. He reached for the hem of her shirt and pulled it upward she pulled it the rest of the way. Zoe was bare beneath; she groaned when Harry lowered his head and flicked her chocolate nipple with the tip of his tongue.

Zoe's senses were on fire. It had been so long since she had felt like this. She gave a shuddering sigh when Harry's hot mouth engulfed the tip of her breast. She grabbed a fistful of hair in each of her hands and pulled him closer trying to get him to take more of her, he obliged without hesitating. She pulled him away from her chest kissed him hard one more time before turning so that his back was to the bed, then she attacked the button and zipper of his pants, just as she pulled the top of his pants open the back of his knees hit the edge of the bed and he went down.

Harry sat on the edge of the bed staring at Zoe through a haze of lust, she looked Harry in the eyes, took a step back and then put her boot clad foot on his leg. Without a word or losing eye contact he pulled down the zipper on the outside of her boot and pulled it off, the other boot followed just as silently. Harry reached down to loosen the straps of his own boots when he stopped mid movement to watch Zoe unfasten her leather belt, she dropped it to the floor next to her. Her pants were made of some kind of stretchy material, they slid right down her legs and pooled at her feet, she stepped out of them and towards Harry.

Still looking Harry in the eyes she tugged at the top of his pants until he lifted his hips and allowed her to pull them down to his knees. His cock jutted proudly between them and with unerring accuracy Zoe gripped the base of it in her fist and stroked him slowly. Harry's cock jerk reflexively to the attention it was getting. "You shouldn't do that much longer unless you want to call it a night." Harry whispered through gritted teeth.

Zoe's only reply was a smirk before climbing in Harry's lap with her knees braced on the outside of his thighs. She guided Harry's cock to her entrance and slowly sank on to it; they let out mutual hisses of pleasure at the sensation. Harry was beyond lost in the feeling of Zoe's hot, wet center. The pleasure magnified when Zoe slowly went up and down in his lap before picking up speed. Harsh breathing and wet sucking sounds filled Harry's room. Zoe's nails dug into Harry's shoulders as her movements and her breathing became more frantic, her nails dug into his shoulder hard enough to make him wince, her folds tightened around his member and her movements became jerky. Her eyes were screwed shut and she was biting her lip to keep from crying out.

Harry allowed her to get her breathing under control before lifting her from his lap and sitting her next to him. He deftly unbuckled his boots then stood and shimmied out of his pants. He turned to her and stood for a second proudly displaying his still hard cock, slick with her juices. Without a word he kissed her harshly and fell on top of her. In one move he was inside her slick welcoming folds. He moved in long strokes as deep as he could go before retreating and going deep again, Zoe's hips moved to meet him each time and her soft gasps in his ear was a melody. Even slowing his pace Harry knew he wasn't going to last much longer, he sped up. It was hard and fast. Her gasps became more pronounced as he powered into her. As Harry felt the moment of release come closer he moved faster and more forcefully. Again, Zoe's nails dug into Harry's shoulders and again her folds tightened on his cock but this time instead of reaching her climax alone Harry joined her, his hot seed spurting inside Zoe prolonging her shudders. Harry reluctantly pulled out and collapsed next to Zoe and stared up at the ceiling of his room.

"Thank you Harry" Zoe said softly.

"You're welcome seems kind of insufficient."

Zoe shook her head from side to side. "It's perfect."

"Then you're welcome Zoe."

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AN: That's it for chapter three, like I said out of all the reviews I got it was pretty unanimous who they wanted to see Harry with. Let me know what you think.