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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Post-BDM: Simon and Kaylee finally meet again and everyone must deal with the aftermath.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 2609 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: All right - you asked for it - so here is the next chapter with a bit of Simon and Kaylee reunion for you ... just remember, YOU ASKED!
Thanks again to Leiasky for inspiring many any angsty fic moment and being so gracious with her wisdom!
And after this chapter - there had better be some comments - even if they're not the nicest ones ... :o)
A NEW LIFE, ch. 16: In His Eyes
Ten minutes later, Kaylee paced her room, waiting for Simon’s arrival. She was more than nervous; she honestly could never remember feeling this anxious. It was ridiculous, right, to be so befuddled at the thought of seeing Simon? Her Simon? But he wasn’t hers anymore and Kaylee had to keep reminding herself of that dreadful fact.
River had warned her that he did not remember her; that even though her friend had tried to coax out memories of Kaylee from Simon’s subconscious they would not come. She had tried to prepare herself, but she knew she couldn’t. There was no way to be prepared for the love of her life, the father of her child, looking at her with unknowing eyes.
She heard the door click open and taking a deep breath, turned to face her visitors. For a split second Kaylee was sure she had fainted, she could feel nothing, see nothing, not even breathe as she stared at Simon standing just a few feet away from her – alive.
Rushing to him, although River had warned her not to, Kaylee stopped just inches from him and instead of throwing her arms around him like she wanted, reached out a gentle hand and touched his cheek, reassuring herself that he was indeed real. She looked into his blue eyes as she reached for him, and saw the confusion there that she had feared. He really didn’t have any idea who she was.
“Hello,” he said stiffly, giving her a quizzical look as her hand continued to rest against his cheek.
Realizing that was probably more than a little uncomfortable for him, Kaylee removed it quickly and cast her eyes down to the floor, murmuring, “Hello.”
River looked between the two of them for a moment and knew that at this point, her work was done. Heading back out the door, she told them, “I’m going to leave you two alone for a bit.”
Kaylee turned pleading eyes to her, and River could only smile. “You’ll be fine,” she reassured, looking to Simon and seeing the same worry reflected in his face. “Both of you.” And with that, she shut the door, leaving the two former lovers alone.
She had no idea what to say, wasn’t that silly? It was Simon, she’d never been the one to be tongue-tied and yet now, Kaylee found herself completely at a loss. Simon wasn’t volunteering any information either so she guessed he too thought silence was better than banter. But Kaylee worried she might burst from the anticipation.
As the silence grew more and more uncomfortable and the two young people continued to try and avert each other’s gazes, Kaylee finally screwed up her courage, and asked, “You don’t remember me at all, do ya?”
Simon’s eyes met hers and again she found herself at a loss for breath; his blue eyes still had the ability to mesmerize her, no matter what the circumstance. But they were still devoid of any meaning. Shaking his head slightly, he answered quietly, “No, I’m sorry. I don’t.”
Shrugging and plastering a smile on her face she didn’t feel, Kaylee took a seat on the edge of her bed, and said, “Well, that’s okay, chances are you’ll remember when you’re ready.”
Simon did not indulge her need to be cheerful and so the two of them again found themselves sitting in silence. Kaylee was certain she would burst. Seeing him again, so close, so real, was causing her heart to break in ways she hadn’t thought capable. She had wished for this moment since he’d been gone, the chance to see him again, but now she realized she should have been more specific when asking the shepherd for a miracle – she couldn’t take having him back without having him.
Simon cleared his throat which pulled her from her thoughts and Kaylee looked to him hopefully. His eyes still focused on the floor, he shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other and then finally said, “So, we were involved?”
Kaylee blushed slightly and answered, “Yes.”
At her affirmation, Simon finally did look at her and continued. “How long?”
“Ah,” Kaylee thought for a moment, knowing with certainty that they had been together for four months, two weeks and three days, but she didn’t want to scare him. “About four months, I guess,” she told him.
“Hmm,” he murmured, beginning to pace around the room, still keeping his distance. Puzzling through the math in his head, he finally said, “But River and I were on Serenity for a little over a year, right?” When she nodded, he asked, “What took us so long?”
Again blushing, Kaylee just shrugged, not wanting to tell him that it had been his stupidity that had kept them apart. Pausing in mid-stride, Simon fixed her with a classic frown and her heart swelled at seeing the familiar expression. Holding up a hand to her, he answered his own question. “Let me guess, I was a little slow to come around?”
She giggled slightly at the frankness of his self-assessment and said, “Not to put to fine a point on it.”
Then he smiled, for the first time since he’d entered the room and Kaylee felt her heart leap for joy at the sight. Trying to contain her happiness, she watched him as he chuckled himself, and then elaborated. “I should have known. Keller was always ribbing me about being bad with girls. I guess it’s comforting to know some things don’t change.”
Kaylee was so relieved at the release of tension in the room that she almost completely glossed over the mention of the name. Trying to maintain her cool, she asked, “Keller? Who’s that?”
“A friend of mine from h-,” Simon stopped mid-word and Kaylee knew he’d been ready to say home. Her face fell a little as he resumed his explanation. “From Osiris. He’s a doctor too, an orthopedic surgeon.”
“Bet he ain’t as good as you,” Kaylee told him proudly, beaming at him.
Simon shook his head and started to say, “Well, it’s really two totally different branches of medicine, trauma and ortho. Can’t really …” he trailed off as he saw her face fall even further, all vestiges of her previous smile gone, his heart thudding with an unfathomable loss at the sight. He’d really liked her smile. It reminded him of something, someone … her. But he didn't remember her. He wanted to. He didn't want to be the cause of her losing that pretty smile. Trying to push his guilt and sadness aside, he sighed heavily, and rubbed a hand along the back of his neck. “Thank you.”
Again the silence; Kaylee couldn’t stand it, any of it. Not him being here or her feeling so torn up inside she wanted to scream. What power in the ‘verse could be so cruel? To give him back to her, but give him back with no memory of what they’d shared?
“I really wish everyone would stop looking at me like that,” he finally bit out, his voice rising in anger.
Shocked that she had been affecting any kind of look at all, Kaylee asked, “Like what?”
“Like I just killed their puppy, or something,” he tried to explain, gritting his teeth in frustration. Balling his fists at his sides, he said angrily, “I just can’t take it. I’m doing the best I can, you know?”
“I know,” she said hurriedly, trying to soothe him. But he would have none of it.
“I think your’s is the worst. Your look.” He said it was such hate in his voice that Kaylee felt tears she knew had been forming start to run down her face. Looking back to her, she saw a pang of regret in his features, but whether he didn’t want to or couldn’t apologize, she didn’t know. “Never mind,” he finally grumbled.
His hands clenched at his sides and he turned away, unable to look at the hurt and pain etched across her face. To know that he was the reason this bright, pretty girl was crying frustrated and angered him in a way that he had not previously felt. He didn't know what to do; didn't know what to say. He didn't know how he should feel.
Kaylee tried to remind herself that although this person in front of her was Simon he wasn’t really himself. The man she knew, the man she had loved was lost now, and she had to be strong in order to have any chance of getting him back. Doing her best to swallow her tears, she tried to get him talking again. “Did you have more friends, like Keller on Osiris?”
Simon looked to her, and she could see him struggle over what he should and should not tell her. Finally he admitted, “Yeah, a few. I worked a lot, so there wasn’t much time for socializing.”
Kaylee nodded at this new information and with barely another thought asked the question she knew she’d regret. “So, did you have any girlfriends?”
Simon’s eyes bored through her and she thought for sure her heart would rip apart at the intensity of his gaze. Just by the look in his eyes, she already knew the answer to her foolish question, but she listened resolutely as he said, “Well, I had a girl who was a friend, but she wasn’t really a girlfriend. We just kissed a few times, nothing serious.”
“Uh huh.” Kaylee’s mind wandered to a cold place where she had kept her grief for Simon and she wanted so badly to crawl back there now, so she could cry and mourn for the stranger she saw before her.
Pulling her from her despair, Simon said sharply, “I’m sorry. I can’t do this.”
Rising quickly, Kaylee asked him, panicked, “Do what?”
“This!” He shouted it and Kaylee visibly flinched at the sound. Lowering his voice he tried to make her understand, knowing it was probably a futile attempt. He could see her concern for him and how much just being in the same room was killing her. God, he wished he could remember. “I don’t remember you,” he bit out, trying to keep his voice steady and losing the battle. “I don’t remember us and I can’t keep trying to force something that I have no memory of.”
Kaylee had started to cry again at his words. Unable to trust her voice all she could do was nod numbly at him as he headed out the door. “I just need some time,” he told her quietly before exiting the room, leaving the door open in his wake.
Feeling more hollow and empty than she had in months, Kaylee sank to the floor, her eyes overflowing with tears. She cried silently and would have probably stayed there for the rest of the night if Mal had not come to check on her. Having seen the doc storm off in a huff towards Serenity, Mal had figured that his talk with Kaylee had not gone well. Man, he hated being right.
Seeing her, so broken, made Mal’s own heart sink in his chest, and he approached her carefully, kneeling down beside her and running a hand over her hair. “Kaylee, mei mei, you all right?”
She didn’t acknowledge him for a few minutes, so Mal gathered her in his arms and sat with her on the bed, holding her shaking form against him. “He don’t know me, Mal,” she said quietly, her voice emotionless. “He don’t know me at all.”
Rocking her gently, Mal rubbed circles along her back, trying to soothe her. “I know, darlin’. But he will. We just gotta be patient.”
“But what if he don’t,” she asked him, leaning back to gaze into his face. He wished she hadn’t, those green eyes of her could render him completely speechless on a good day, never mind the ruttin’ crap day this was turning out to be.
Kissing her forehead, Mal held her more tightly and assured her, “He will.”
Kaylee sat with him in silence for a few more minutes as more of her tears fell. Finally, when she felt the first sob well up into her mouth, she clutched his shirt front and wailed, “I wish he’d never come back!”
“Don’t say that, Kaylee, I know you don’t think that.” Mal’s pain at seeing Kaylee so hurt was digging into him something fierce.
“Yes, I do,” she told him stubbornly. Looking back to him she managed to get out, “’Cause now it’s like I’m losing him all over again, except this time I’m gonna have to watch.”
“Hush now, mei mei,” Mal told her, hugging her tightly as she again clawed at him, trying to find solace that wouldn’t come. “We just gotta give it time,” he said again, wishing he had more than words for his broken lil’ Kaylee.
Jayne found River outside later that night. She had strayed from her room and he had gone in search of her, concerned when he awakened and she was gone. He had expected her to stick close to the house, but as he finally tracked her down, he noticed that she had wandered fairly far in the moonlight, finding a stand of trees and sitting beneath one of them.
The closer he got, the more he could see how exhausted she was. He didn’t fully understand all of her abilities, from a mind-reading perspective anyway. He knew that if he thought something stupid, she’d call him on it, but he wasn’t sure the depth to which she could feel other people’s emotions or read their thoughts. But if he had to guess, based on her behavior these past few days, she was suffering just as badly as anyone else.
Reaching her finally, she did not jump at his light touch. Kneeling down in front of her, it took her a full minute to focus her eyes on his form, and when she did, Jayne’s breath caught in his throat. She had been crying for some time that was obvious, based on the redness he could make out in the moonlight and the swollenness of her gaze. Stroking her cheek gently, he whispered, “River, darlin’, can you hear me?”
“Tired, Jayne,” she murmured, not having the strength to raise her head from where she had rested it against the tree. “So tired. Simon and Kaylee …” her voice trailed off, forming words taking too much strength. When she had again pulled some energy into reserve, she finished. “So much pain. So much hurt.”
“I know, bao bei,” he told her. He looked to her for a moment, remembering with an icy heart how he had found her back when they’d first discovered the doc was alive. Jayne figured the closer they got to getting Simon back, the better off she’d be, but instead, the opposite seemed to be happening and it frustrated Jayne to no end that there was nothing he could do to relieve the pain she was obviously feeling.
“Ahh!” She wailed sharply, breaking Jayne from his musings. Reaching out to steady her, he watched as she pressed her palms to her temples, trying to squeeze the emotions out. “It hurts,” she mumbled over and over again, crying relentlessly. “It hurts.”
“River, come on, let me get Simon to give ya somethin’,” he encouraged, trying to carry her back towards the house.
“No,” River said fiercely, grabbing his arm in a vice-like grip. “Don’t want false sleep. Want normal, want to be normal.” She was pleading with him to obey her wishes and against his better judgment he knew he would.
She shivered then as the night wind kicked up and Jayne did scoop her up into his arms, carrying her back towards Millie’s. She lulled to sleep against him on the walk, and didn’t awaken again until he’d set her down on her bed, gently pulling covers up to her chin. Her big, brown eyes fluttered open in his direction and Jayne felt his heart skip a beat – what an odd sensation. “Jayne,” she murmured, reaching out a hand to him.
“Shh, now, you get some rest, darlin’,” he told her, squeezing her hand gently and placing a light kiss against her lips. Turning to leave, she called him back, “Stay with me.”
He wanted to, truly, but his body craved the sleep he wouldn’t get sitting up with her all night. Knowing it was useless to even consider denying her, Jayne moved back to her side and sat on the edge of the bed.
“No,” she told him, moving over to make room. “Stay with me,” she repeated.
Getting her meaning, Jayne threw her a questioning glance and pointed at the now empty side of the bed. “Me? You want me to lay there?”
“Just sleep, silly,” she teased him, tugging on his hand. “Please, I want to be safe.”
Well, that decided it. Kicking off his boots and taking off his gun belt, which also held two knives, a reserve grenade and a full magazine’s worth of ammo, Jayne slid under the covers next to her. River moved over to mold her small form against his side, her head resting gently on his shoulder. As he dropped a light kiss into her hair, River sighed once and then quickly drifted off to sleep. Jayne was soon to follow.
Mal found his way back to Inara’s side after having sat with Kaylee for most of the night. He hadn’t wanted to leave her, even then, but she had insisted and despite fighting with her for a half an hour, he’d still lost.
Sitting heavily on the edge of the bed, Mal let his head fall into his hands, stifling the sigh that rose to his lips. How could this be happening? And why? Mal desperately wanted answers, if only to give Kaylee hope that soon everything would be all right. But it didn’t matter what he wanted or how badly he hoped for it. Everything would work itself out one way or another and he would just need to patient. Gorramit if he didn’t stink at that.
Inara’s sleepy murmur drew him from his thoughts and he answered her. “Yeah, darlin’, it’s me. Go back to sleep.”
Not listening, Inara rolled over and crawled to his side, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and resting her chin in the crook of his neck. Placing a light kiss just below his ear, she asked, “How is she?”
“Awful,” he answered truthfully, running his hands lightly up and down the arms she’d placed over his chest. She was so warm and he reveled in her touch. “And the worst part is there’s nothin’ I can do.”
“You’re doing it, Mal,” she told him, again placing a kiss to his cheek. Pulling herself around to look at his face, she said, “Us being here is helpful for her, you know that.”
Mal sighed, at a loss for how to express his sorrow. He hated to see Kaylee in pain and now that they were back with her again, he just felt that everything should be happy and light. But it couldn’t be, not when Kaylee was suffering so, and now come to find out she had a kid. So not only was she grieving for Simon all these months, she was grieving for the father of her son and Mal could only guess at the kind of heartache that had caused his mei mei.
“I just want her to be happy again,” he said finally, the defeat evident in his tone.
“I know, ai ren,” she whispered, burying her face against his chest. “I know. That’s what we all want.”
Mal held her for a moment more and then moved to get undressed so he could get at least a few hours of sleep. Inara rolled back over to her side of the bed and thought about all they had seen in these past thirty-six hours. It seemed almost impossible that just a month or so ago they had been flying around the ‘verse, assuming Simon was dead and thinking that Kaylee was still furious with them.
In just a few short weeks all the preconceptions they’d been clinging too had been thrown out the window and Inara marveled at the speed with which things could implode. Of course, why it surprised her, she had no idea.
As Mal slid in beside her and she wrapped her arms around him, settling back into sleep, her thoughts drifted to Kaylee’s baby, Simon’s baby, little Daniel. He was adorable, there was no denying that. And it was obvious that Kaylee adored him. Inara could not imagine what it must have been like for Kaylee to go through her pregnancy and the birth alone. She wished she could have been there for her friend, she should have been. Although Inara suspected was she present, she would have found it unbelievably difficult.
Seeing Kaylee, so happy with her baby, made Inara’s heart well with regret for things that might have been, things she had long ago learned to block from her memory. But now, with the sight of that new little life, so loved, so wanted, Inara felt some of those old pangs twinge her heart and she wished she could make them go away.
She felt Mal settle beside her and soon he was snoring lightly, as he always did. She pressed a light kiss to his chest, hoping that if they ever had children she’d have the courage to really share her fears. She also hoped she could be half the mother that Kaylee obviously was. Somehow, she doubted it. It was with these troubled thoughts that Inara tried to sleep and it was a long time before her mind finally allowed her.
Zoe fixed herself a cup of coffee and took a seat at Millie’s exceptionally large kitchen table. Enjoying a few moments of peace while everyone else still slumbered, Zoe had to marvel at the commitment of their hostess. Last night, after supper, Zoe had talked with the woman to discover that ever since her own husband had passed about ten years ago, leaving her childless, Millie had slowly opened her home to these wayward babes. Sometimes, she had confided, she was able to find loving homes to take in the children that ended up on her doorstep, but often times, they had to wait until they grew old enough to care for themselves and then they would set out into the world with nothing but a bag of clothes.
Currently, she had eight children at the house, five boys and three girls. The boys were older, ranging in age from four to ten while the girls were much younger, being three, four and five. The five-year-old, Ellie, was the one that Zoe had met early in the day when she had inquired after them all. The thought of the girl brought a smile to Zoe’s lips and she hurriedly raised her cup to hide the slight upturn.
She had assumed that by the girl’s assessment of her stature, she would be a little intimidated of the Amazon woman. But it seemed just the opposite. Plopping down beside Zoe she had immediately struck up a conversation.
“So, you friends with Miss Kaylee?”
“Yes, darlin’, I am. Are you?”
And with that, she had smiled once more and then set to saying grace with the rest of the children. Her forthright nature and fearlessness instantly endeared her to Zoe’s heart.
A noise behind her made Zoe turn and she looked up as Ellie entered the kitchen, still yawning and stretching one arm over her head. “Mornin’,” she told her, sitting at the table across from Zoe.
“Good mornin’, lil’ one,” Zoe answered, studying her sleepy expression. “What’re you doing up so early?”
Shrugging, the girl looked to her, and said tiredly, “’Lijah was up coughin’ ‘gain. I couldn’t sleep.” Glancing to the cup in her hands, she asked, “Can I have some?”
Wrinkling her nose, Zoe took one more sip of her coffee and then stood to pour it down the sink. “Trust me, you don’t want this. Is Elijah gonna be all right,” Zoe asked, turning to regard the girl.
She nodded once, and said, “I think so. Miss Millie’s with ‘em, tryin’ to help him breathe. It’s real hard for him sometimes.”
Zoe nodded silently, digesting the girl’s diagnosis. She had known plenty of people, both child and adult, who had often fallen ill from some type of coughing sickness and even though she had just met Elijah, just met all of them, her heart went out the little boy and how much pain he must be in.
Looking back to Ellie, Zoe was about to ask her something else when she noticed that the child had let her head drop to the table and she was again asleep. Deciding she couldn’t leave her there, Zoe scooped her up gently and took her into the living room to lay her on the couch – she had no idea how to even attempt to find the little one’s room.
The little voice called her back as she was leaving. “Yes baby,” she asked, pausing in the doorway.
“You’re nice,” Ellie told her sleepily, before rolling over on her side and again falling asleep.
Smiling softly, Zoe found herself staring at the girl for quite some time before she was able to pull herself away.
“Have you seen Kaylee,” Millie asked Marie and Walt as she happened upon her family sitting under a tree in the yard. Both of them turned to her as Millie took a seat beside them and it was her sister who answered.
“Nope, not since last night after supper. Simon went to talk with her, didn’t he?” Marie asked it like a question, even though she knew the answer.
Millie nodded once, her eyes drifting toward the knot of children playing in the yard. River, that enigmatic girl with the large brown eyes, had even managed to get Cadie in on the fun. Sporting the girl on her back, the two of them ran as one, and Cadie was actually smiling. It warmed Millie’s heart, especially considering all the heartache they will all suffering through at the moment.
“You think she can handle all this,” Millie asked after a few moments, her eyes still locked on her kids.
It was Walt’s turn. “Look, I known that girl going on seven months now and she’s strong. Stronger than I first expected when I looked at her. She can weather this.”
Both women turned disbelieving stares to him, before sharing an eye roll between themselves. “Oh, Walt, it ain’t that easy and you know it,” Marie said quietly, resting a light hand against her husband’s wrinkled cheek.
The three of them sat in silence for a few more moments, finally noticing as Simon wandered around from the corner of the house and took a seat on the porch, watching the activity before him with a forlorn look. Looking to her sister, Millie said quietly, “I know it’s easy for us to be mad at ‘im, especially ‘cause of how much we love little Kaylee, but …” Trailing off, she watched with an even heavier heart as Simon rose, kicking at the dust under his shoes as he headed out towards Serenity, parked at least a twenty minute walk in the distance. Sighing, she again looked out to watch her little ones playing and finished. “It ain’t his fault, none o’ it.”
“We done know that, Mill,” Marie said quickly, knowing that her sister was right. She hadn’t spoken to Simon more than the first day or so he’d been planetside, but it didn’t take a genius to see how wrecked he was over this whole situation. “But just ‘cause it ain’t his fault, don’t mean he should be hollerin’ at Kaylee all hour’s of the night.”
Millie gave her sister a stern look that had stopped working when the women were in their teens. Clearing his throat, Walt decided he would again weigh in with his opinion, “Look, I know I’m just a man and all, and can’t possibly be as in tune to what’s happenin’ as you fine ladies,” he said with grin, giving his wife’s hand a squeeze even as she rolled her eyes at him. “But regardless of who’s fault it is and who’s fault it ain’t, that boy’s still gotta right to know ‘bout his son.”
Both women shot Walt meaningful glares and he swallowed hard at their expressions. Apparently that opinion had been the wrong one. “You listen to me Walter Scott Everett,” Marie told him, her tone growing steely. “You breathe one word ‘bout that young ‘un to that doc and you’ll need a doctor yerself.”
Nodding, Walt raised his hands in a form of surrender. “All I’m sayin’ is, if it were me, I’d wanna know.”
“And if it were me,” Millie echoed quietly, studying her hands in her lap. “I’d have to keep it a secret.”
None of them said anything for several more moments as they let those thoughts sink in. Millie had been thinking a lot about her long lost husband, Adam, in the past few months since Kaylee’d been with her. The girl’s pain and heartache were as familiar to Millie as anything and while she had tried to be supportive of the girl, truth was, she found it more and more difficult to get through the days, assaulted by so many painful memories.
Now that Kaylee’s Adam had returned to her in the form of this handsome doctor, Millie wanted them both to be happy. But she knew it wasn’t as easy as all that. And although she, Marie and Walt might have some fairly strong opinions on what they’d do were they in Kaylee’s place, the fact was, it weren’t there choices to make.
Pulling herself from her thoughts, Millie let a small smile cross her lips. Looking back to Marie, she confided, “He is handsome though, ain’t he?”
Returning her grin, Marie murmured, “Oh, most assuredly.”
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