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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Post-BDM: Kaylee adjusts to being a new mom, while River tries to reach her brother. Jayne tries to reach River. Simon finally realizes all he's been forced to forget and turns to an unlikely source for help.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 2300 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: Thanks to my beta - Leiasky! And thanks to Leighkohl for also offering encouragement!
I'm going to Flan!
And ... do I really have to beg for comments?
A NEW LIFE, ch. 10: Ties That Bind
When Simon returned home he wasn’t surprised to find the overly large mansion deserted. His parents had stepped out for the evening, no doubt attending another gala event, and Simon was relieved.
Seeing that girl at the Andersons’ tonight had only served to further unnerve him. He had been trying, very hard, to forget all about his momentary lapse of sanity and move on with his life. But now, as he pieced together his memory from the restaurant the other night and spotting her now, he was becoming more and more certain that there really was something to discover. Trudging up the stairs to his room, Simon felt the call of his bed, his aching muscles and his tired mind pleading with him to get some rest, but he couldn’t. He needed to find out more.
He had felt River, his sister – it still seemed so strange – a few times since he’d first touched her mind those months ago. She had been trying to reach out to him, to reassure him that everything would be okay, that she would find him and help make him whole again. He felt her sadness at his inability to remember her and Simon wished he could prevent causing her that pain, but his mind refused to give him any more clues and so tonight, he was going to seek them out.
Simon had been trying to put the pieces together, all of them, and so far what he had was a very thin, but still coherent fabric. If he had a sister, River, whom he could not remember, there had to be a reason. Simon did not guess from the memories he had or her presence within him that she was a danger to him, so he did not think any of this had been done for his own good. He briefly considered talking to his mother or father about it, but after his father’s odd behavior the morning he had come home, he’d been unwilling to trust either of them. Instead, Simon was going to explore his home, the place he remembered living his entire life to see if something else, some painting or family memento, anything, could jog his memory further. At this point he had nothing to lose.
As he started his exploration his thoughts drifted to Alicia. Their parting had been awkward, that morning when he had kissed her. It shamed him to think he had used her like that, just to see if he could remember more of this other person, this person whom he loved but had forgotten. He hoped that Alicia could forgive him, she had been unbelievably understanding through all of this and Simon did not want to risk her friendship; he was fairly certain it was the only genuine thing in his life at the moment.
It frustrated him to no end that he could not put together the pieces of his life. The only thing he knew for certain was that things were missing, memories, moments in time, moments of his life, stolen, for a purpose he could not begin to fathom. And Simon was slowly starting to fear he would again lose control. He worried as this continued and more and more of his life made less and less sense that he truly was going crazy.
Stopping for a moment in the middle of the hall, Simon sighed heavily his shoulders slumped forward in defeat. Maybe this was just a wild, crazed dream. Maybe all he needed was some good, solid counseling and a peaceful night’s rest. That’s what the logical side of his brain told him anyway. But the other side, the feeling side told him that these emotions were too potent to be figments of his imagination. There must be more to them, right?
Forging ahead, Simon walked a few more steps before he stopped in front of one of the hall’s many doors. Quick to dismiss the room as a guest bedroom, he was about to move on when something called him back. Taking a deep breath and suddenly feeling very nervous, Simon reached for the door knob and tried to turn it, finding it locked. Okay, not a guest room.
Working a trick he had learned in childhood, Simon popped the lock in a matter of seconds and stepped inside the darkened room. It took him a few minutes for his eyes to adjust, but as the room came into focus he almost wished it hadn’t. Inhaling sharply, Simon sank to the floor of the room, recognizing it in an instant and not believing it at the same time.
The room had been River’s, when she was younger, a little girl. Even though the room was now empty, just the sight, the way the moonlight danced across the floor, all of it, was as clear a reminder to him as any. Closing his eyes, memories flooded in and Simon’s mind reeled under the onslaught.
She was little, maybe no more than six and she was begging with him to play with her. Simon watched in his mind’s eye as he shrugged off her touch and went back to his studying. The memory fast forwarded and Simon saw his older sister staring back at him with unshed tears as his mother and father took her away – where? Where was she going? He saw as she carried one small suitcase, the rest of her things being taken out to the waiting craft by their house steward. Running towards her, River dropped her small bag and flung herself into his arms, her tears finally falling. Wrapping her arms around him tightly, he held her back just as fiercely, his heart breaking as she whispered, “Don’t forget me, Simon.”
Opening his eyes again, Simon knew where she had gone that day – the Academy. She had gone to that monstrosity of an institution where she had been forced to undergo tests he could not think on for fear of his reaction. The Academy, yes, where River had gone, at the age of fourteen, where she had stayed for three years even as he tried to convince their parents that she was in danger.
“Oh my god,” he whispered, his voice barely more than a rasp as more of those painful moments flooded through him. He stumbled over to the edge of her bed and sank down onto it. A memory he still could not fully remember guiding his actions, Simon reached under her bed and pulled out a small tin container. With a shaky hand, he lifted the lid, knowing what he’d find there.
Taking a deep breath, Simon reached in and pulled out the top piece of paper, his hands trembling. Turning on the lamp by her bed, he read the note with blurry eyes, his tears falling as he remembered with startling clarity the first day he’d ever read this letter – it had been the first message his sister had sent from the Academy warning him that she was in trouble, begging for his help.
Simon placed the letter back in its place and replaced the lid. He couldn’t look at these, not now. He couldn’t remember the anguish she’d suffered; it was too much for him to bear. And the thought that he’d been unable to remember her at all caused an agonizingly painful slice through his heart. How could this be possible? And why?
Lying down and curling into the tightest ball he could manage, Simon fought back his angry, sad tears for as long as he could, wishing that he could see his sister again, if only tell her how sorry he was that he had ever forgotten her. If only to tell her that he loved her and he needed her. If only to tell her that he had no idea what was going on and he was scared.
He knew now there was no one he could trust, no one. Not his parents, not his friends, not his co-workers – no one. He was alone, broken by his inability to remember his life. His mind was shattered by fragments of memories that were sharp and unyielding and flooded him with emotions he was not prepared to handle.
Finally, at a loss, Simon cried himself to sleep, hoping he might one day see his sister again.
River could not sleep. Simon’s pain called out to her, loud and unrelenting in her head. She sat in the farthest corner of the room she could find, her hands wrapped around the sides of her head, wishing she could push his pain away. But it would not leave her.
She had tried to reach out to him, to reassure him that everything would be okay, that she was here now, but it hadn’t done any good. He was not ready for that yet, he wasn’t ready to admit he needed help – he wasn’t even ready to fully admit she existed.
Crying tears of pain and sorrow, River rocked slightly, trying to bury the pain. She felt a light hand touch the top of her head and looked up to see Jayne’s concerned face gazing back at her. “River, darlin’, what’s the matter? Is it Simon?”
S he could only nod, her agony too intense for her to form words. Sobbing now, she again buried her face against the wall. She had to stop the suffering, she couldn’t take it. Barely aware of her own actions, she began to lightly bang her head against the wall, the physical pain of the movement, preferable to the mental anguish she was suffering now.
But Jayne would have none of that. Reaching over, he wrapped an arm around her and brought her to lean against his chest. River let him, too tired to fight. She cried for a few more minutes, this time digging her fingernails into her scalp deep enough to draw blood.
And then in an instant, the pain receded. It was not gone, but it had faded and River realized Simon was asleep. Releasing a shaky sigh of relief, River slumped against Jayne’s chest, too exhausted to say anything for several moments. When she did finally find her voice, she barely recognized it. “Sorry, Jayne.”
“What’ve you gotta be sorry fer,” he asked gently, continuing to rock her.
“I woke you up,” she answered, turning her still tear-filled face to him. “You need your sleep.”
“I don’t need sleep, ifn’ you don’t,” he challenged. Rewarded with a slight smile, he felt brave enough to ask, “What was happenin’?”
River stifled a whimper at the memory and then said quietly, “He was remembering and he didn’t want to. Remembering me.” She started to cry again just a few tears running down her face, but the sight broke Jayne’s heart, a heart he had thought was long ago made impassable.
Not knowing what else to do and not exactly sure what it would solve, Jayne leaned down and kissed her, on the mouth, something he had vowed to never do again, although at this very moment, he could not remember why. And to his great surprise, she kissed him back.
Reaching a hand up to lay against her small cheek, Jayne brushed his lips over hers, coaxing her more fully into the kiss. Placing her own hand behind his head, she pulled him to her, making it impossible for him to not trace her lower lip with his tongue, before hers joined him and the kiss reached an impassioned pitch.
Sitting up more, River pressed herself to him, feeling him groan into her mouth and that made her smile. Just as she was about to kiss him even harder, Jayne broke the contact, pulling her back by the shoulders. Confusion playing across her features, Jayne took a deep breath and then said, “We ain’t doin’ this.”
Unable to ignore the effect she was having on him, River let her hands run through his hair and watched with delight as his eyes rolled into the back of his head at her touch. Trailing a few kisses from his mouth to his ear, she whispered, “But I wanna.”
Suppressing a shudder of pleasure, Jayne again brought her face to meet his and said, “Look, River girl, I ain’t exactly known for my self-control and I cannot believe I’m saying this, but we ain’t gonna do this, not now.” Frowning up at him, Jayne tried to explain it another way. “Look something much bigger than you and me is goin’ on here.”
Smiling wickedly, River wriggled in his lap and got the reaction she’d been hoping for. “I know.”
“Gorramit, River, listen ta me,” he said, his voice growing forceful and causing River to sober. “It aint’ that I don’t want to do this and it definitely ain’t that I haven’t thought about doin’ this, but now ain’t the time. If we’re to get your brother back, like you want, then we gotta stay focused.” When she didn’t protest, Jayne sat back slightly and mumbled, “I never thought I’d see the day I’d pick your brother over you.”
River was pouting now, her lower lip jutting out in a manner that drove Jayne crazy. “Ai ya, girl, why you gotta do that,” he asked her, again reaching down and pulling her lower lip into his mouth, kissing her with as much passion as he could manage and still keep his senses.
Pulling back from him, River looked into his eyes and saw his concern for her, his commitment to her and his love. Her heart swelling to at least twice its normal size, she rested her head against his bare chest and whispered, “Stay focused.”
“That’s right,” Jayne agreed, silently grateful that she had not pressed the point. He knew that in just another minute all reasoning would have abandoned him and he didn’t want to rush this, not with her. “Now, come on, you know what they say, sleep helps to stay focused.”
He rose and reached out a hand for her, which she took gladly. Leading her over to the bed, Jayne squirmed in under the covers and looked back to her expectantly. Raising an eyebrow at him, she teased, “Are you sure you can handle it? I’d hate for you to lose focus.”
Growling at her with a wicked grin on his face, Jayne pulled her down with him, and held her against his side. “I ain’t a beast,” he whispered into her hair, as he felt her breathing slow. Within minutes she was asleep, and Jayne again said a silent prayer to the shepherd. See, shepherd no special hell for me. Rubbing his cheek against her hair and inhaling her sweet scent, he amended, Not yet, anyways.
Ellie crept in on silent feet to Miss Kaylee’s room. It was late and the house was quiet and dark, but Ellie hadn’t been able to see the baby yet, and she wanted to. He was only about three weeks old, but Miss Kaylee had insisted on staying in her room with him for a while. From what Miss Millie had said, Kaylee was real tired from the birth and needed to rest.
So the children, while they had begged and pleaded, had been told they were not to disturb Kaylee or little Daniel until she said it was all right. But Ellie had waited three months for that little guy to come and she wasn’t gonna wait any longer.
Gliding over to the edge of the bed, she saw that Kaylee had fallen asleep holding the little one. Reaching up the tiniest hand, Ellie pulled the blanket back from his sweet face and gasped. She had never seen a baby before, but this one was prettier than she’d thought he’d be.
He had the darkest little tuft of hair on his head and as he slept his tiny hands were curled into fists at his sides. Ellie couldn’t see the color of his eyes, but she knew that Miss Kaylee had been hoping they’d be blue, so that was what Ellie had wanted too.
So engrossed in her gazing, she did not notice as Kaylee came to. Looking down at the girl’s wide eyes, Kaylee smiled sleepily and murmured, “Well, hello there, little one. What’re you doing here?”
Gasping from surprise, Ellie turned big, brown eyes on Kaylee. “I’m sorry, Miss Kaylee. I just really wanted to see ‘im is all.”
Kaylee smiled at the girl and said, “Well, get up here then, you can’t see him so good from down there.”
Her face breaking into a wide grin, Kaylee watched as Ellie scrambled up and onto the edge of the bed, crawling her way down towards Kaylee. Adjusting her little boy on her lap, she turned him slightly so that Ellie would have a better view.
Stopping just at her shoulder, Ellie sat on her feet and looked back at the boy. The movement had awoken him and Ellie saw with delight that his eyes were blue. Looking to Kaylee with an even bigger grin, she whispered, “He’s got blue eyes, Miss Kaylee. Just like you wanted.”
“Yes, baby, he does,” Kaylee whispered, her eyes watering slightly. She had hoped he would, had hoped that he would look like his papa and Kaylee had been given her wish: a healthy baby boy with dark hair and blue eyes; a little mini-Simon, whom she could love and care for and not have to let go; ever.
“Oh, don’t be sad, Miss Kaylee,” Ellie said quickly, noticing that her friend had begun to cry. Leaning forward, she patted the new mother on the shoulder and said, “You’re gonna be a good mama, I just know it.”
Smiling through her few remaining tears, Kaylee said, “Well, thank you, Ellie. I certainly hope I’m a good ma. It’s pretty much the most important job in the ‘verse.”
Ellie returned her gaze to the baby. She didn’t need anyone to tell her how important a ma could be. Ellie still missed her ma, everyday, and although Millie and the other children had become like family to her, there was no way someone’s mother could be replaced. Studying Daniel’s face more intently, Ellie finally cocked her head to one side and asked, “How come his face is all wrinkly? Don’t he look kinda old for a baby?”
At Ellie’s assessment Kaylee could not help but laugh, a loud, deep laugh that seemed to come from a place long ago buried. Smiling through her now happy tears, Ellie returned the grin and leaned into Kaylee’s side, cooing at Daniel and keeping Kaylee company far into the night.
“It’s bad, Mal.”
Inara’s voice was distant and hollow somehow and the sound chilled him. Gazing to his beloved through the wave screen, he asked, “What’da ya mean, darlin’?”
Turning her tear-filled eyes to him, she said, “He didn’t recognize me, at all. Not even a flash. And I ran right into him, shook his hand, even told him my name. Nothing.” The despair that filled her voice harbored on manic and Mal tried to think of someway to help her, even as he was stuck half a city away.
“You’re sure,” he questioned, already knowing the answer, but unable to think of anything else.
She nodded glumly and than told him, “If we do manage to get him out of here and back to Kaylee …” She trailed off, uncertain she could actually finish the statement. The thought was too terrible and Inara did not want to think about what it would do to her bright and bubbly friend. “I don’t know if she can survive that,” she finally whispered.
When she again looked to him, she noticed with a bit of surprise that his eyes were full of fear. Trying to work past the lump in his throat, he concurred. “I know, darlin’. I know.”
When Simon awoke a few hours later, he was still in his sister’s room and his face was stiff from the salty tears that had stained his skin. Not having the energy, but realizing being found in this room could end badly, Simon quickly left, making sure to lock the door behind him. As he hurried back towards his own room, he ran right into his mother and father who were returning from their evening out.
Simon thanked Buddha that it was dark in the hall and hoped it was enough to keep his parents from seeing the redness in his eyes. Trying to smile, he said distractedly, “Mother, father, I trust you had a nice evening.”
His parents exchanged a look that Simon knew all too well and he knew he needed to get out of there. “Yes, Simon, it was lovely, thank you,” his mother answered, taking a step closer to him and reaching out a hand to place against his cheek.
Stepping out of her touch, he watched his mother’s hand flinch noticeably before she dropped it back to her side and gave her husband a confused look. “Simon, son, is everything all right?” Gabriel stepped forward and placed an iron grip on Simon’s arm.
Trying to twist out of it, but unable to do so, Simon gritted his teeth and said, “Yes, Father of course. Can you let go now?”
Dropping the boy’s arm in an instant, Simon again headed in the direction of his room. “Good night,” he called, leaving both of them to stand dumbfounded in the middle of the hall. It wasn’t until his door was shut, that he allowed himself a slight sigh of relief. Now, if he could just make it through tonight …
Gabriel and Regan Tam watched their son bolt away from them, concern and fear welling in their chests. As they hurried to their own room, Regan waited until her husband had securely locked their door, before asking, “What was that about, Gabriel? Do you think he remembers something?”
Giving his wife a very grim look, he answered tightly, “I’m afraid he might.”
Her hand flying to her mouth, Regan sank to the bed, her legs no longer strong enough to support her. This couldn’t be happening. They had done everything, to the letter. They had abolished the thought, the memory, the presence of River from their lives; they had done all the cognition exercises with Simon as they had been instructed; they had paid for the finest treatment the Alliance could offer and yet … it would all be for naught. Their son was still as lost to him as he had been since the day he’d broken his sister out of the Academy and become a fugitive.
“Now, look, Regan, we cannot panic,” Gabriel instructed his wife, his voice firm as he saw her eyes widen in terror. “I will contact the agents and Keller first thing in the morning. This could just be a minor setback. There’s no reason to believe he’s remembered anything of any import.”
Regan nodded numbly uncertain she believed her husband’s reassurances. She had seen that pain in Simon’s eyes once before, right before he had gone after River. “But what if he has, Gabriel,” she asked, her voice barely more than a whisper.
“Then I’m afraid we’ll have lost him for good,” the elder Tam said heavily. And with that, he resolutely strode to his study, placing the call he had never wanted to make.
Alicia had not heard from Simon in days, so it was a complete shock to her when he rang her doorbell in the middle of the night. Answering the door still half-asleep, Alicia ushered him inside quickly as she saw dread etched into his features.
Once inside, he began a nervous pacing that she recognized all too well. Leaving him be for a moment, she went to throw on a robe, and came back surprised to find him slumped in a chair, his head in his hands.
Going to him, she knelt in front of him and placed a light finger under his chin, trying to get him to look at her. While he did raise his head at her touch, he refused to meet her eyes. Biting back her own panic, she whispered, “Simon, what’s wrong?”
He blinked rapidly as he felt more tears come and tried to steady his voice as he told her, “My sister, she’s real. I know that now.” His voice was shaky, but it held firm as he continued. “I found her room, in my house and all her things …” He trailed off uncertain of what to say. He still wasn’t entirely convinced that he could trust Alicia, but since he’d been back on Osiris she’d been the only person he’d felt he could trust, the only person who had truly looked out for his best interests.
“Simon, I’m so sorry,” she told him, running her hand through his hair, at a loss for anything else to say.
He stayed her hand as she reached out to run it across his scalp again and swallowed hard. The other aspects of his life, the life he couldn’t remember – the life with the girl in it whom he cared for deeply, she had done that for him too. Why could he still not remember her? He knew, with an unreasonable clarity that he loved her, this mystery woman, or he had, and the knowledge that he could not bring her out of his memory caused him even greater anguish.
Startled by his abrupt movement, Alicia asked him, “What else? Simon, what else is happening?”
Turning haunted eyes to her, he finally whispered, “I have no idea.”
That was the truth, Alicia could see it in his face; he was lost and confused, uncertain as to what he was doing or even who he was. They sat in silence for a moment as Simon tried to focus on what he knew to be real and what he knew was false, but he could barely distinguish between the two any more. His grasp on reality was slipping and that had him more scared than just about anything else.
Looking back to her again, Alicia froze at the look of horror in his eyes. “Can I trust you,” he breathed, his voice barely recognizable to his own ears.
Tears welling in her eyes, Alicia nodded once, waiting until she felt she could trust her voice before answering. “Yes, Simon, you can trust me. I only want what’s best for you.”
Simon’s resolve broke a little at her words and she watched as a few tears fell down his face. Grabbing her hands intently, he asked her, “Will you help me?”
She nodded again, her tears now falling steadily. Leaning up she wrapped him in a tight embrace and whispered, “Any way I can, Simon. I promise.”
He cried against her and was soon asleep, his confused mind still too jumbled to make any more sense of his situation for the night.
When Gabriel awoke the next morning he found a note from Simon stating that he would be taking extra shifts at the hospital for the next few days and they should not expect him. Not at all certain he could trust his son anymore Gabriel did the only thing he could think of. Calling the hospital, he had his son paged and got no response.
Fear and anger welling in him, Gabriel called the next logical person and didn’t even wait for a greeting before attacking him. “Where is he?”
Keller regarded him coolly through the screen and asked, “Where’s who?”
Not in the mood to play games, Gabriel’s voice grew even colder as he said, “Simon.” Still getting only confusion from the younger man, he elaborated. “He’s not at the hospital, he’s not at home and I’m guessing, he’s not with you. So where is he?”
Scratching his head, Keller tried to suppress his own worry. It wasn’t like Simon to go completely off the grid, the kid was way too responsible for that. Deciding not to give into the older Tam’s intimidation technique, he decided to answer with a shrug. “Jeez, Gabe, I don’t know. I didn’t put a homing beacon on him.”
Fighting the very real urge he felt to rip out the young upstart’s throat, Gabriel counted to ten and then said, “Find him.”
With that the man winked out the screen and Keller allowed a slight sigh to escape his lips. Where could Simon be? It wasn’t like him to just not show up at the hospital. Couple his disappearing act with his strange behavior in the past few weeks and this did not look promising.
Realization dawning like a smack in the head, Keller cursed his slowness. Sending the wave, he was rewarded with Alicia’s face looking back at him. “Hey stranger, how’ve you been,” he asked, trying to stay cool.
She glanced furtively off screen, confirming Keller’s suspicion that Simon was there. “Hey, Kell, it’s kind of early, isn’t it?”
“Nah, not for us surgeons,” he answered, trying to keep her talking.
“Did you need something,” she asked hurriedly wanting to end the conversation before Simon awoke again.
Trying the truth, Keller answered, “Yeah, I was looking for Simon.”
Her eyes widening slightly, Keller knew that’s where he’d find his friend. “Uh, no,” she stuttered, trying to cover her tracks. “I think he’s on at the hospital this morning. Maybe you should try there.”
“Yeah, maybe I should,” Keller said. “Thanks anyway, Alicia.”
Without saying goodbye, she flipped off the screen and Keller sat back heavily in his chair. Whatever was going on with Simon, Alicia knew about it and that made his life all sorts of complicated. Sighing, he closed his eyes for a moment and then headed to get dressed. Apparently, the Alliance’s experiment hadn’t quite worked and now he might have to kill two of his friends in order to clean up their mess.
River awoke again in the middle of the night, a mere two days since she’d first seen her brother. His anguish throbbed through her once more, but it was focused now. He had found a way to control his sadness at least for the time being. And that meant now was as good a time as any to reach out to him.
Looking up to Jayne, she noticed that he was still asleep, his arm wrapped around her waist as he slumbered. Smiling at the contact and the intimacy of it, she hated to leave him like this, but she had to; it was now or never.
Sliding out of the bed with barely a whisper, River grabbed her jacket and sidearm and headed back to her brother. For the first time in over three years, she was heading back home.
Oooh, can you stand the suspense? Write a comment and tell me about it!
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