BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE

LEIASKY

Because of You Part 9 of 10
Thursday, June 29, 2006

Happiness never lasts and Jayne tries to take advantage. Simon makes a decision that hurts the woman he loves. Simon/Kaylee.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1382    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Notes: Mucho thanks to TamSibling for beta’ing this monster that turned into 102 pages by the time I was done with all 100 prompts. Writing in this tense has been one hell of a challenge. One I never wish to ever undertake again.

And thanks to Leighkohl for saving my ass on a few of these prompts and tossing me ideas to keep me going.

For the other parts click here:

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8

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Because of You Part 9

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081. Book

Simon is exhausted the next morning, and sleeps in even as Kaylee slips out of bed early to go get some work done. He remembers waking to the feel of her soft, pliable lips on his, kissing him and telling him she will see him later but then he falls back to sleep – an uneasy, haunted sleep.

Now, he sits staring into the little mirror sitting over Kaylee’s dresser, thinking about the future – his, River’s, Kaylee’s; theirs together. But he cannot move forward with those thoughts until he puts the past behind him. And to do that, he needs to speak with Zoe. But he doesn’t know what to say, where to begin. There are no words, no apologies one can make in a situation like this. There is nothing to make her feel any better about her loss.

But he needs to try. He owes it to her, to himself and to Kaylee – to everyone.

He seeks her out on the bridge, and swallows past his fear of standing up there, the big, great black before him, with only a few meters of glass in between them.

“Zoe?” He stands hesitantly in the doorway, not wanting to intrude.

Zoe replaces the two dinosaurs on the console in front of her and leans back in her chair. “What can I do for you, Simon?”

“I’d – like to talk to you.”

“About?”

Simon takes a deep breath, tense and on the defensive but not sure why. She’s direct and abrasive and it’s something he usually admires in a woman. But today, he finds it incredibly intimidating. He recalls his dream as she turns to look at him, and he unconsciously takes a step back.

She smiles slightly as she regards his nervous stance, reading everything in the boy's face that he is probably trying valiantly to hide.

“I can read you like an open book, doc.” She returns to gaze at the plastic toys, considering her next words. “And I’ve already spoken to River – or rather,” A small smile ghosts over her lips. “ – River has spoken with me.”

Simon’s mouth falls open as he realizes how nosy his little sister can be, but he knows it is not her place to make his apologies. “Zoe, please. I ... I wish I had the words. But I don't know what to say. I’m sorry doesn’t seem adequate enough.”

“It’s not.”

Simon swallows thickly and focuses on the side of her face, to keep his vision from swimming as the empty black of space calls out to him from the large window.

“But it’s enough.”

Simon blinks, not understanding and when Zoe turns around and regards him with as firm a look as he’s ever received, chills race down his spine.

“We coulda stayed on Haven. Wash died believin’ what he was doin’ was the right thing to do – the only thing to do.” She pauses to take a deep breath. She’s already worked out her anger and the young man standing before her now doesn’t deserve to see any of it. They’re friends. Family. She won’t honor her dead husband’s memory by harboring resentment and anger toward the Tam’s now. After a long, silent moment, she continues, "That's what he died for. The right thing, and that ain't nothin' to be sorry for."

When she lifts her eyes to his, he knows she speaks the truth. She holds out her hand with a small smile and he takes it, squeezing it hard. “Thank you.”

“Ain’t got nothing to thank me for, doc.” A small smile spreads across her face.

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082. Nature

“Ain’t natural, gorramit.”

“You’re just jealous,” River says, not looking up from her bowl.

“Can we not be discussin’ this at the table? I ain’t gonna ask again.”

Jayne scowls at River and turns to Mal, “How kin she even walk straight? Ain’t natural to rut day an night for weeks on end.”

“Jayne!” Inara hisses, incensed. River rolls her eyes at the mercenary giving him that you’re-too-dumb-too-live look. “Simon’s a doctor, you idiot.”

Mal opens his mouth but closes it again. They aren’t listening to him anyway.

“Yeah, so?” Jayne shovels another bite of food into his mouth and says, “Sexin’ is sexin’. An too much of it is just ain’t –“

“Morning Kaylee!” Inara says, loudly, to stop Jayne’s train of thought. “How are you this morning?”

Kaylee kisses the Companion’s cheek as she gets two bowls and sets them on the table. “Little tired, but still shiny.”

Jayne opens his mouth but Zoe kicks him under the table, favoring him with a speak-and-you-die glare.

Kaylee fills her two bowls, grabs two pairs of chopsticks and says to Mal, “Simon’s not feelin’ too well this mornin’. Gonna bring him some food.”

“Don’t forget to check the –“

“Yup, already know, Cap. Will take care of it soon as I bring this to Simon.”

Jayne sneers at her backside as she leaves and then says, “Yeah, not feelin’ well. Right. Poor boy’s little body prolly can’t take all the sexin’ lil’ Kaylee’s been demandin’.”

“Not it.” River says as she finishes her breakfast.

Jayne glances over at her and scowls. “Then what is it, moonbrain?”

River leans forward, elbows on the table and smiles sweetly at him. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”

Jayne rolls his eyes. “That’d be why I asked.”

River pats his shoulder as she gets up to take her bowl to the sink. “Never would have had a chance with her, even if Simon wasn’t here.”

Mal raises an eyebrow, Zoe gets up and leaves, and Inara stares intently at the mercenary.

“Somethin’ you wanna be telling me, Jayne?”

Jayne buries his attention in his rapidly emptying bowl. “No, Mal.”

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083. Eternal

River looks up from her reading when Kaylee enters the room, her smile lifting River’s somewhat melancholy heart. When the bubbly mechanic notices River, she joins her on the couch, leaning over her arm with a curious look.

“Am reading the preacher-man’s symbol,” River says, going back to her reading. She can feel Kaylee’s elation and her contentment at being with her brother but that is nothing new and so she wants to get back to pondering over the words in this book. “He left it for me and I’m trying to understand.”

“Oh,” Kaylee’s smile instantly vanishes as she remembers their deceased friend and it is her frown that Simon sees when he rounds the corner and sees his two favorite girls sitting together on the couch.

“It just doesn’t quantify. It isn’t possible,” River says as she squints at a specific passage.

Kaylee takes Simon’s hand as he sits beside her and turns to River. “What isn’t possible, sweetie?”

“Eternal life.” River points a thin finger at a line of text. “Medical technology has not evolved enough to grant a person everlasting life.” She looks over at Simon, not for confirmation, but for support.

“Well, with cryo technology, one could, conceivably live forever,” Simon adds.

River swivels her head and favors him with the look she has patented as the, you’re-acting-like-a-boob look. “Nothing lasts forever, Simon.”

“Love does,” Kaylee is quick to say and River’s eyes shift toward the smiling mechanic and down at the hand that clutches Simon’s.

River closes the bible and stares at the two of them silently, reading from their emotions, the overwhelming truth of Kaylee’s seemingly innocent statement. She reaches out with her mind and senses the love that Zoe still holds for her dead husband and she glances back down at the book in her hands. “You’re right.” A small smile spreads across her face as she smiles pointedly at her brother. “Love is eternal.”

Simon squeezes Kaylee’s hand and grins at his sister. “So is hope.”

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” River stands and smiles down at her brother before bending down and pressing a kiss to Kaylee’s cheek. “Simon can tell you the rest.”

Kaylee looks expectantly toward Simon as River walks out of the room.

“It’s a poem by Alexander Pope. From Earth-that-Was.”

“Oh, I like poems. What’s the rest of it?” Kaylee asks, leaning back against the couch and pulling Simon with her.

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always To be blest: The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come.” Simon smiles warmly at her. “We had an extensive library of all the greats. I read a lot in my spare time. River, well, she soaked it all up like a sponge. She knows far more than me.”

Kaylee leans against his chest and smiles in that way that makes his legs weak. “It’s real pretty, Simon.”

“So are you,” he answers without thought, his eyes locking with hers.

Kaylee’s lips curl up and she leans forward to press her lips to his. “An ya aren’t drunk this time, neither.”

Simon wraps his arms around her and pulls her into his lap, deepening the kiss for a moment before sliding his hands around to cup her cheeks. When he parts their lips, their eyes meet and he drops his forehead to hers, whispering the words she has long dreamed of hearing from a man’s lips, and never expecting to hear them from Simon’s so soon.

“I love you.”

Hearing Kaylee’s sharp intake of breath, Simon leans away so that he can look into her eyes. Sudden panic grips his heart. Perhaps he should not have said those words so soon. He hurries to correct that mistake, hoping he has not just ruined a good thing between them by saying something wrong again. “Kaylee – I – I’m sorry. If that’s not what – I shouldn’t have –“ Simon closed his mouth feeling all kinds of foolish for his inability to speak coherently.

The smile that has started to spread across Kaylee’s face, when he'd first spoken those words, falls away and she pushes herself off his lap. Turning away, she tries to control the trembling of her bottom lip. “Shouldn’t say it if ya didn’t mean it, Simon. Just hurts more when ya try to take it back.”

Simon’s eyes widen. He has no experience in this area and it is painfully obvious. “Kaylee, no.” He reaches for her and she simply sits with her back to him. She wants to run away, to throw herself into the darkest corner she can find and cry. But Simon doesn’t let her. When he can’t turn her around to face him, he gets up and sits himself on her other side.

Kaylee tries to turn away but strong hands curl themselves around her cheeks and force her to face him. “That’s not what I meant. Please listen. I’m not so good with words, you know that.”

“You been gettin’ better.” Kaylee keeps her eyes downcast so that he won’t see the tears gathered there.

“Please look at me.”

She shakes her head but his thumbs run along the bottom of her eyes anyway, dislodging the carefully concealed tears. When she gives up and finally looks at him, he leans forward and kisses her urgently. “No. No. I did this all wrong. I’m sorry. I meant it. Every word.” Desperation to make her understand untangles his tongue and he continues, words spilling out of his heart and out of his mouth almost too fast for him to keep up. “I do love you. I have for a long time. I just – I thought maybe it was too soon, that you weren’t ready to hear –“

The rest of his explanation is cut off as she thrusts her arms around his neck and kisses him with all of the excitement and passion her body can hold. When they finally break for air, she buries her face in his neck and whispers, “I love you too, Simon.”

He closes his eyes and holds her knowing he has never been so happy in his life than at this very moment.

Hiding in the shadows, River smiles and mouths silently, “Love demands the impossible, the absolute, the sky on fire, inexhaustible springtime, life after death, and death itself transfigured into eternal life.”

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084. Serenity

As River steps off the bridge and into the hallway, darkened for the evening, she inhales sharply at the swell of emotion rising and falling like waves in a storm-tossed sea.

Night is when she finds the most peace. Although Serenity herself provides more peace than she ever could hope to find out in the black.

She walks with the grace of a dancer, pausing to glance at the closed and locked hatch above which holds a plaque reading ‘Kaylee’s Bunk”. River brushes her hands over her arms and closes her eyes. It doesn’t matter what she tries, she cannot block the passion coming from below.

It has been like this since their first time. Hot, burning heat consumes them as they move together, their bodies slick with sweat and exclamation’s rising from their lips like a religious mantra echoed from the most religious temple. Though the inferno still rages hotly, tonight there is a new facet that does not spiral out of control. It is calm and steady, showering the couple with a new emotion – Love.

As hard as she tries, River cannot block out the sensations that course out of their bodies and into hers. She wants to ask Simon to give her something to help her block out these uncontrollable feelings. But she doesn’t want to loose her only connection to that kind of happiness, so she leans against the bulkhead and tries to catch her breath knowing that they will tire eventually.

She groans as she closes her eyes and sees the image of them weeks ago in the engine room replay slowly through her mind. The bliss on Kaylee’s face and the soundless cries that fell from her lips are burned into River’s memory. The care with which Simon held his lover’s body, wrapping it around him, holding Kaylee so that very little of her skin was pressed against the cold metal of the floor below them.

River wants to feel that kind of love one day, she craves it as much as a man stranded in the desert craves a simple drop of water. She pushes herself weakly away from the wall when the emotions from Kaylee’s bunk crest high and then burst through the hallway like a flash fire.

The elation and the exhaustion that overwhelm her nearly drive her to her knees and she stumbles down the hallway, intent on reaching another part of the ship – finding a small nook in which to locate again that inner peace that this simple ship provides.

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085. Gold

Kaylee hums as she moves about her room, sliding the coveralls up her legs and zipping them to her waist. She glances over at Simon, still sound asleep on her bed, and can’t quell the rise of emotion seeing him in such a state causes in her heart. He’s exhausted, and a very heavy sleeper when he’s relaxed enough to take advantage of it. The corners of her mouth turn up as she recalls just exactly why he is so tired.

The memory of his hands, so sure and confident, on her skin, his hot, wet mouth bringing her more pleasure than she ever thought possible, cause an involuntary tremor to race down her spine. She’d kept him up all night, just like nearly every other night since they’d taken to sharing a bed, but last night was a bit more special. It had been an emotionally, as well as physically, exhausting night – and Simon would groan and swear at her if he noticed how chipper she was so early in the morning.

She stifles a giggle at the thought. Simon is not a particularly polite early morning riser, preferring to work late into the night and sleep in. Well, he’d worked late into the night, all right, and Kaylee’s rewarding him for his diligence in keeping her well, [i/]well sexed.

For a while, she simply stands there, watching the slow rise and fall of his bare chest, the flutter of dark eyelashes against his cheek as he dreams. Reluctantly, she tears her eyes away from his handsome face and sweeps them down his body, barely covered by the thin sheet she’d tossed over him when she’d slid out of bed.

After a moment of regret that she had covered any portion of his beautiful body from her lusty gaze, she moves to her small dresser to get a top to wear for the day. As if drawn by a magnet, her hand gravitates toward a small, Chinese style, velvet box sitting within a little inset corner on the wooden dresser top. She runs her fingertip over it and casts a warm glance over her shoulder at the man still slumbering in her bed.

She doesn’t wear its contents often, it being an old family heirloom, but she has worn it a few times before – the last being at their friend’s burial site. It is the only precious piece of jewelry she owns and she treasures it. Lifting the lid, Kaylee traces the golden lettering, a smile spreading across her face as she thinks about the day she will be able to wear it on an occasion for which its meaning will be appropriate.

She and Simon have made progress in such a short time. And Kaylee has every hope that she will wear this necklace on their wedding day. As she replaces the lid, she gasps when a pair of strong, lithely muscled arms wrap around her waist. So lost in the memories sitting enclosed within the box, she didn’t hear him approach from behind.

She leans back against Simon’s bare chest and closes her eyes, content for now to simply be here with him, be held and kissed – not to mention well and truly sexed.

When he presses a kiss to her neck, his gaze follows her hand, to where her fingers rest atop the box. He knows what it contains, but the implication of it no longer fills him with anxiety or fear. It fills him with anticipation.

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086. Silver

She rolls over and snuggles against his chest, content to just lie there in his arms. But she knows she has to get up. They have work to do. And while, in Kaylee’s opinion, his best work is done lying in bed with her, she knows they need to drag themselves out of the room for at least a few hours.

She closes her eyes for just a few more minutes and breathes in the scent of their sex on his skin, remembering how just last night he had murmured how much he loved her as she joined their bodies. She smiles contentedly and is soon fast asleep once again, happily ensconced in her lover’s arms.

When she wakes again, it is to the fluttering of his mouth against her neck. She moans and stretches like a kitten, drawing her body more fully into contact with his. His warm skin burns her and she hooks a leg around his backside, one arm around his shoulders and pulls him tighter against her.

“We have to get up,” he says very unconvincingly against her neck. But the way his mouth continues to move along the smooth column, it is clear he has no intention of getting out of bed anytime soon.

“Uhm hmm,” Kaylee moans when his mouth closes over that one spot that always curls her toes.

With difficulty, he pulls his mouth from her neck and looks down into her half-lidded eyes. “I got you something.”

Kaylee forces her eyes open and smiles so sweetly at him that he cannot help but bend down and kiss her lips. After a few moments, she leans away, but keeps her arms wrapped firmly around his neck. “So, what’d ya get me?”

“It’s in my bunk.”

Kaylee sighs, resigning herself to the fact that if she wants to see what he got for her then they need to get out of bed. With one last kiss, she slides out from beneath him and pulls on some clothes. Throwing a sultry look over her shoulder at him, she quickly moves to the ladder, intent on getting to his bunk to find whatever he has hidden.

Once he figures out that she is going to search for this gift on her own, he tries to stop her. “Kaylee, wait! I want to give it to you. Get back here!” It is a surprise that he wants to give her, not something he wants her to go looking to find. His legs tangle in the sheets and he can’t reach her before she scrambles up and out of the open hatch.

Kaylee squeals all the way to the passenger dorms, disturbing Jayne who glances up from his meal to stare at her backside. When Simon follows a moment later, as unkept as anyone has ever seen the usually well dressed doctor, Jayne sneers at him and goes back to his breakfast.

River is standing in the open doorway to Simon’s bunk, watching with amusement as Kaylee searches through his meager belongings. When Simon bounds down the steps, River grins at him. “She hasn’t found it yet.”

Simon pushes past her just as Kaylee plucks a small velvet bag from a compartment in his suitcase and holds it high. “Found what?” Kaylee singsongs and holds the item out to Simon, who instantly snaps it out of her hand.

“You know, some things are meant to be a surprise.” He turns away, slightly disappointed that she’d found the bag, intent on leaving the room but Kaylee grabs his arm, stopping him.

“I’m sorry, Simon. Didn’t think you’d be so upset ‘bout it.”

A small, teasing smile spreads across his face. “Well, maybe I’ll just wait to give it to you then.”

Kaylee’s jaw drops as Simon extricates his hand from hers and walks out of the room.

River stops her from following with a shake of the head. “Needs to feel in control. Let him go.”

“But –“

“I’ll give you a hint.”

Kaylee turns expectant and excited eyes on River.

“It’s made of silver and its something you will wear.”

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087. Hero

Mal rolls his eyes as Kaylee begs him, yet again, for permission to attend the little carnival. He finally relents and finds himself with an armful of mechanic and a smiling Companion looking on from the catwalk above.

Once Kaylee extricates herself from Mal’s embrace, she hurries off to fetch Simon, her voice carrying from the cargo bay all the way into the passenger dorms and beyond, if the pitch is any indication.

As Inara glides gracefully down the steps, Kaylee appears with Simon, dragging him behind her, down the ramp and out into the crowd.

“They’ll be fine, Mal.”

Mal huffs and turns around to go back to the bridge, muttering, “If somethin’ happens, I ain’t goin’ to get ‘em.”

~*~

Gunfire sails past their heads and the throng of people previously happily browsing begin to scream and press against the couple, pushing them apart.

Kaylee tries to hold onto Simon's hand but when he notices a ship hover over them, he pushes them both beneath a cart. As Kaylee’s eyes dart around nervously, Simon whispers, "Listen to me, bao bei. You have to get back to Serenity." When she doesn’t acknowledge his words, he places both hands on her shoulders and forces her to meet his gaze. “Kaylee, do you understand? You need to go. Now.” Her eyes snap back to his at the forceful tone behind the words and she clutches his hand desperately, fearful eyes holding his gaze intensely. "We have to get back to the Serenity," she affirms, moving to tug him from their hiding place. "And we will," he assures her. "But not together. In case any of these men recognize me, I cannot risk them getting you too." Inching towards her he presses a hurried kiss to her mouth and then gently pushes her back. "Just go, run back to the ship and I'll meet you there." Shaking her head fervently, Kaylee tries to maintain her grasp on his hand, but he peels her fingers away from his, shaking his head at her. "Kaylee, I mean it." Glancing out at the scene before them, he sees a break coming in the crowd and pushing her roughly, instructs her, "Go!"

For a moment he thinks she is going to try to make her way back to him. Her hair whips around her head as she frantically looks back, needing to see him, wanting to call for him. But he cannot regret his decision. He has to keep her safe. And if making their way back to the ship separately is the way to do it then he will make sure it happens. As soon as she's clear of the cart, Simon turns and bolts in the other direction, deliberately not looking behind him to be sure she's all right and praying that she will be. So he doesn't notice as Kaylee stumbles and falls with a muffled cry. In their hurry to escape the men jumping out of the hovering ship, people kick her, and trip over her; pushing her out of the way. She is unable to keep so many boots from hitting her and she cries out one last time before a stiff, steel-toed boot connects with her head knocking her out.

In that last moment, her final cry gets the attention of a large, determined man. As people continue to hurry over the insensible girl, a large, well-muscled arm reaches into the fray and effortlessly lifts her unconscious form into his arms.

Jayne doesn’t look for Simon, he just doesn’t care about the annoying little man. He makes for the ship, dodging still screaming people, and reaches it just as Mal and Zoe hurry down the ramp, having heard the gun shots.

“What happened?” Inara rushes across the metal catwalk and down the stairs, past River who is looking down at Kaylee and out into the night – for her brother.

“Albatross, get the ship prepped,” Mal calls back.

But it is Zoe who looks around, noticing the missing crew member. “Simon?” she asks Jayne who shrugs, uninterestingly.

“Didn’t see ‘im.”

“Zhen dao mei!” Mal grinds out and points at Jayne. “Get her to the infirmary, Zoe an I’ll –“

“Already on it, Sir.” Zoe hurries down the ramp and into the darkness, Mal at her heels.

Jayne tries to hide a smile as he carries Kaylee into the infirmary, Inara at his side, but River sees the look and her features harden.

“Not the hero of this story, Jayne. The sooner you learn that, the better.”

Chinese Translation:

Zhen dao mei - just our luck

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088. Villian

Zoe finally sees Simon being held by the scruff of the neck by a man three times his size and a hundred times uglier. He’s talking to a companion, another rather large man, but she cannot hear what they’re saying. She motions to Mal, who squints in the waning light, and then moves to flank the large men.

“This one’s too pretty! He’ll fetch a high price.”

The other man licks his lips and cups Simon’s chin, dragging his eyes up. “Yeah, real nice. Smooth skin too. Ladies’ll love that.”

“So’ll the men.” The man holding Simon leans down and drags his nose down Simon’s neck, as if examining a piece of meat.

Mal’s wide eyes meet Zoe’s while another man comes up to the two holding Simon, with a cute little girl, arms bound behind her back.

“Good pickin’ here. These’ll sell well.”

“Yup, lets go ‘fore some a these people get brave an try ta stop us.”

Mal steps out of the shadows as the three men drag their prizes toward their ship, and raises his gun. “You got something belongs to me. I’d like ‘im back.”

The man holding Simon glances down and laughs. “Should keep a better hold on your pretty boy. He belongs to me now.”

When the man holding the girl throws her to the ground and pulls out his weapon, a gun fires behind them, and both men drop instantly – leaving the one holding Simon the only slaver standing.

Smoke dusting from Mal’s spent pistol, he walks closer to the man still holding Simon. “I suggest you let my boy go or my man,” he nods opposite where Zoe is still hiding, “will put a bullet into that thick skull of yours.”

“Fine,” the big man pushes Simon to the ground and quickly draws his gun. “I can’t have him, ain’t no one gettin’ ‘em!” before he has the chance to fire, Zoe’s rifle discharges, splintering the man’s head.

As Simon pushes himself to his feet, Mal releases the young girl. While Zoe, Mal and Simon beat feet back to Serenity, Mal cannot resist making one of his more appropriate comments – for the words nor the situation couldn’t be any truer. “Your talent for attractin’ folks is near miraculous, doc.”

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089. Soul

When they reach Serenity, the engines are already primed and they lift off the moment the cargo bay doors seal shut.

Simon heads for the infirmary, eyes wide with worry and jaw set with determination. Without a word to Jayne sitting beside the still unconscious Kaylee, Simon pushes him out of the way and begins to examine her.

Jayne glowers at the smaller man but one look from Inara stills the fist that has risen to waist height and poised to strike.

Inara asks if she can help and Simon gives her a few menial tasks as he works to diagnose all of Kaylee’s injuries. Once finished, Simon sits wearily beside her and pulls her hand into his, kissing the back of it gently. His other hand rests along her cheek, absently brushing the soft skin.

“I shouldn’t have left her,” Simon murmurs against her skin.

Inara takes Kaylee’s other hand and with a kind smile, inquires, “Why did you?”

Inara listens as he explains, her heart going out to him for the painful snap decision he’d been forced to make. She can hear the pain and regret in his voice and she moves to Kaylee’s other side to place a reassuring hand on his shoulder. With no further words, they sit with Kaylee, until Inara decides to give them some time alone.

The other people coming and going, speaking to Kaylee and to Simon, fall to the back of his mind as he thinks about what happened tonight. In his effort to protect her, he’d caused more injury. He’d been afraid for her, to be caught with him, and so he’d pushed her away instead of taking their chances together.

He wonders what kind of a man that makes him. If he can’t protect those he loves, he doesn’t deserve to have them in the first place. Because of him, Kaylee could have died tonight, and Simon closes his eyes to stop the frustrated tears that well there.

He presses a gentle kiss to her cheek. He knows she shouldn’t be with him, want him. And he knows he shouldn’t have given in to his feelings for her. She is far safer without him. But he had been weak during their battle with the Reavers. He’d told her he wanted her and then finally made good on that promise.

On days like today he wonders if that had been a wise decision to make. But he loves her. She is the other half of his heart, his soul, but he also knows that, often, if you love something, to keep it safe, you set it free.

River slips into the room as Simon stares down at Kaylee’s unconscious face. She knows her brother is internalizing his grief and she knows, from experience, that nothing will bring him out of that shell. Only Kaylee can do that. He needs her more than he realizes.

River rolls her eyes at her stupid boob of a brother. “She’ll be okay.”

Simon can’t even bring himself to smile. “I’ll feel better about your diagnosis when she wakes.”

“Needs to heal. She’ll wake when its time.”

Simon knows his sister is right. Kaylee’s case is so much like many others he’d experienced as a trauma surgeon on Osiris. All he can do is watch and wait for her to come around. A concussion would not normally be something to worry much about, but because of his connection to Kaylee, he worries more than he should.

River flattens the side of her hand against his cheek and turns his gaze toward her. “Don’t let her go. You need her.”

Simon drops his gaze back to Kaylee’s peaceful face not for the first time cursing that his sister can read his mind.

“We must travel in the direction of our fear." River quotes, leaning her head against his shoulder.

Simon doesn’t answer and she knows he won’t. He’s trying hard to ignore her words because he knows she’s right.

“Conquer your fear, Simon,” River says before she glides away, leaving Simon alone with his self-pitying thoughts.

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090. Food

“Feeling up to some tasty protein molded into – ah – little bear shapes?” Simon walks into the infirmary with a bowl of multi-colored food. “River obviously has too much time on her hands.”

Kaylee looks into the bowl and grins.

“Feelin’ up to you lettin’ me out of this room,” Kaylee finally says, her eyes pleading. After being stuck in the infirmary for the last day, she is ready to go back to her own bed, where she can sleep cuddled in Simon’s arms.

Simon settles onto the nearby stool and smiles at her. “I’ll release you if you promise to stay in the passenger dorms. I don’t want you climbing up and down that ladder for a few days.”

Kaylee takes his hand and squeezes it. “Only if you’re stayin’ with me.”

Simon lowers his eyes and shakes his head. “Those beds aren’t big enough, and your body needs to heal.”

Kaylee senses the dramatic shift in his demeanor and is confused. They’d been having so much fun at the carnival but since she’s been awake, she’s sensed something different. She tugs on his hand to get him to slide closer but he carefully extricates it and replaces it with the bowl. He goes back to the counter and begins writing in the chart he’s started for this latest injury.

“Simon?” She knows him well enough to know that something is wrong. And he isn’t the sort to easily discuss what’s bothering him so she knows she’ll have to drag it out of him. “What’s goin’ on?”

Simon stops writing and for a moment Kaylee thinks he is going to open up and tell her the real reason he’s acting oddly, but instead, he simply says, “Your arm is twisted pretty badly, and you’ve got bruises all over your legs. I don’t think –“

“Simon Tam shut up.” Kaylee spits out. She’s tired and hungry and more than a bit upset that he won’t open up to her. “Come here and tell me what’s goin’ on?”

Simon glances up from the chart and there isn’t a hint of a smile on his face. “You were hurt Kaylee. Badly. If Jayne hadn’t gotten to you –“

“Jayne rescued me?” Kaylee knows there is no love lost between Simon and Jayne but she also knows Simon has no need to be jealous of the mercenary. She is his, always and forever.

“Because I was foolish and thought that if those people were after me, it would do no good for them to see us together.” He lifts his eyes to hers and she can see the anguish and humiliation burning there. “You could have died because I made the wrong decision.” He closes his mouth before he says more. How she is able to get him to talk so easily is something he will never comprehend.

“Ya wanted to protect me, Simon.” Kaylee doesn’t understand and she stretches out her injured arm to him, wincing as the muscles protest the movement. “That ain’t all, is it?”

He catches her arm and returns it to her side, but his touch is all professional, with no hint of familiarity between them. “Don’t stretch like that. I don’t want you to –”

“Simon.”

His heart flutters when she says his name even though he can tell she is annoyed. With a heavy sigh, he resumes his seat and takes her hand, brushing his fingers across it gently. When she curls her fingers around his, he lifts his eyes to meet hers. “I love you, Simon. Please tell me.”

Simon shakes his head. “You shouldn’t. Loving me will only get you killed or worse.”

Kaylee’s mouth falls open as he speaks and her body fills with an uncomfortable tension. What happened while she was unconscious?

But Simon isn’t done. He needs to get it all out and off his chest. Maybe then he would stop feeling as if his heart would break in two.

“You’re so bright and happy. So perfect and beautiful. You deserve so much better than me, Kaylee. I can’t give you anything. I’m a fugitive. The charges don’t matter,” he adds when he knows she is about to refute that statement. “The fact is, anyone seen with me, or with River, can be arrested or put to death on the spot.” He brings her hand to his lips and kisses her palm. “You don’t deserve that. And I have no right to ask it of you.”

“You ain’t askin’.”

Simon trudges ahead, knowing that his next words will break her heart – and his. “We can’t do this. I can’t do this to you. I’m sorry.”

“What?” Kaylee’s bottom lip is trembling and the word comes out as a barely audible whisper.

Simon shakes his head and releases her hand. He backs away from her and turns back to the chart, wishing he had something to take away the pain. But this is how it has to be. He loves her so much that he will let her go to protect her.

“Why are you doin’ this?” Kaylee asks softly, through the tears that have started to fall down her bruised cheeks.

Because I love you, Simon thinks, knowing he cannot tell her that. It will only make his decision that much harder. “Because you’re safer without me in your life,” he finally says, and walks out before she can see the angry tears slide down his cheeks.

TBC

---------------

Liked it? Hated it? Have some constructive criticism? Leave a review and let me know. No reviews, no next part :)

COMMENTS

Thursday, June 29, 2006 10:10 AM

RIVERISMYGODDESS


*you’re-too-dumb-too-live look.*
*speak-and-you-die glare*

I can so picture both of these women giving those looks.

LOL @ River's bear shaped protein, and yay also for the angst of Simon telling Kaylee she deserves better (something I have done many a time)

Thursday, June 29, 2006 10:38 AM

LEIGHKOHL


AWWW That was just heeart breaking!!! I loved all the emotions of the prompts before, making Simon's admission that Kaylee would be better off without him so terribly upsetting! He is just incapabable of understanding anyhting about love, isn't he?! Poor Kaylee! And yes I agree with RiverIsMyGoddess abovce, those two lines and the bear shaped protein, Completely hilarious! Jayne is so jealous! I love it! Great Job! Can't wait to read the next installment!

Thursday, June 29, 2006 11:44 AM

TAMSIBLING


These are amazing - I love Eternal, because I too am a sucker for poetry and I love the fact that Simon, the boob, almost entirely messes up saying "I love you" to the one woman in the 'verse he truly does.

The heartbreak of Soul and Food just kill me. The entire discussion between Simon and Kaylee in Food, when he denies her is wrenching and causes me to feel all kinds of weepy! As I have begged you many a time before, oh, Queen of Angst - FIX IT!

Sunday, July 2, 2006 9:07 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


While I think all of us wanna bash how Simon decided to handle Kaylee being injured emotionally...I doubt too many of us would be any better. To love something so much that you're willing to protect it via keeping it away from you is one of those painful things I think sometimes ya have to do. Now...whether that kind of action is suitable here is a matter for terse debate;)

Oh...and I like how ya had River verbally handslap Jayne after he carried Kaylee into the infirmary! Gotta love a guy that just ain't getting the clue cuz he cares so much...even if it's not the way Kaylee would want;)

BEB

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 5:21 PM

SILLYLITTLEDUCK


Simon!!! You're an idiot! Honestly, he deserves to have a shoe thrown at him.

*breaths deeply from how engrossed into the story she's become*

What's in the box? I have to know???

Thursday, July 13, 2006 6:16 AM

BLACKBEANIE


And I was worried Simon was gonna screw it up when he said he loved her



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YOUR OPTIONS

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Broken Wings: Chapter 16 (Repost)
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Broken Wings: Chapter 15 (Repost)
Simon's escape is halted by his father. But River comes to the rescue. Jayne - sees the light - far too up close and personal for his safety. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 14 (Repost)
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Broken Wings: Chapter 12 (Repost)
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