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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Post-BDM: Simon and River confront their parents and Simon receives a surprise.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1799 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: This chapter is a bit shorter than the others, so I'll post next one tonight. Enjoy the showdown!
A NEW LIFE, ch. 20: Irreversible
Gabriel watched the two shuttles hover in front and then studied them intently as the one to the left pulled a particularly fancy move before speeding away. “That one,” he ordered, knowing a hot shot move when he saw it. He also knew that while it was not Simon’s modus operandi to draw attention to himself, it was undoubtedly River’s.
“What about the other ships,” one of the agents asked.
“We’ll deal with them later,” Gabriel ground out. Turning back to the screen, he watched with controlled glee as they gave chase. “Once I have my son.”
“What the hell was that stunt she pulled?” Jayne’s rage at River’s unplanned maneuver had him shaking. He knew why she’d done it and he was more upset that she hadn’t told him.
Cursing under his breath, Mal kept flying at a fast and furious pace, knowing that it made no difference. They would follow the others, River had made sure of it.
Looking back to the controls and seeing that his rearview was indeed clear, he muttered, “Damn it, River, I hope you know what you’re doing.”
It wasn’t long before River and Simon had sped, far away from Serenity and the other shuttle, bringing the Alliance vehicle on a fast and furious chase. If River had skill when piloting the big ship, she was a flying genius when it came to the smaller, compact shuttle. While Simon still wasn’t a fan of the speeds at which she was taking them, he had complete and utter faith in her abilities; she would get them where they needed to go.
At this point, it was an outcropping of rocks jutting up and over a wide expanse of swamp land further towards the middle of the planet. After pouring over topographical maps and survey data, as well as discussing their standoff with Millie, Marie and Walt, they had decided the cliffs were the best place to have a show down. They were well-concealed, meaning that should their parents call for back-up, that aid would be hard pressed to find them. Plus, the swampland would make landing a larger ship impossible.
Simon saw the red rocks jutting up and into the sky and knew they had reached their destination. He watched as River brought the ship down, followed closely by the Alliance’s men. Switching off everything, River readied the shuttle for a quick take-off, knowing that even if she and Simon were successful, they would still have to make a fast getaway.
They both watched the screens in front of them, as the slightly larger ship circled them for a few moments not at all sure it was completely safe to set down. However, the only other alternative was to blow them up and that wasn’t what they wanted. They wanted Simon alive.
Finally, they made an approach and River and Simon rose simultaneously heading for the exit. As they reached the door, Simon grabbed River’s arm and said, “I’m sorry, for all of this.”
Smiling at him slightly, she whispered, “Not your fault. But we can fix it. We can make it better.” He returned her smile and with great trepidation, followed her out the shuttle’s door.
They stood, impassable, unmovable in front of the shuttle, shoulder to shoulder, stern expressions on their faces as they watched the other ship’s ramp lower. Uncertain exactly what to expect, Simon tensed slightly as she saw his mother and then his father descend the ramp. River’s body went rigid at the sight of two blue-hands coming down after them. So, they really did want a fight.
“Simon,” his mother called at the sight of him, running over the craggy ground to reach her son. She came within arm’s reach and Simon stepped back slightly. Glancing from her son’s motionless form to her daughter’s cold eyes, Regan felt her breath force itself from her lungs and she stood for a moment completely paralyzed. What had happened to her two brilliant and bright children?
“Mother,” he said coldly, not meeting her gaze, but instead looking past her to stare down his father. “Father,” he said, just as coldly, doing his best to ignore the tears that had started down his mother’s face.
The four of them stood, a family reunited, in tense silence for quite some time. No one made a move to interrupt them and the only sound that could be heard was the occasional roar of the wind blowing over and around them. River stared down her father, even as the man refused to look at her. She could read his anger and his disappointment as if they were pages in a book and the thoughts sickened her. He had no right, no right to feel such hatred towards his son, no right to feel such disillusionment towards his daughter. If anything she and Simon had that right, never once having exercised it – until now.
Finally, it was Gabriel who broke the self-imposed silence. “It’s time to come home, son,” he said, his voice not leaving any room for argument.
Glancing to his sister, Simon saw her resolute expression and stance and smiled tightly. “I am home.”
“Simon, please.” His mother was begging again, her eyes overflowing with tears. She knew what would happen if he refused and she couldn’t take that. “Simon, we just want what’s best for you. Think of your future, all you’ve worked for.”
“I am,” Simon said, his mind immediately picturing Kaylee and their son. That was his future. “I have a future, out here, with River and our new family. This is where I belong now.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Gabriel spat, still unable to comprehend how his son could be so misguided. He thought he’d raised him better than this. “You are the eldest son of one of the most respected and wealthiest families on Osiris. You are the top trauma surgeon within a five planet radius and are poised to take your seat on the medical-elect as its youngest member. That is the future we raised you for, not living your life on the run, a marked fugitive, bringing shame and dishonor to our family.”
“That’s what this is really about, isn’t it, father,” Simon questioned rhetorically. “This has nothing do with me or what’s best for my life. It has to do with you and your ego.” The man made no move to deny his statements, so Simon pressed on. “What’s the matter? You can’t face your friends at the club anymore now that both of your children are fugitives? Running from a past you had a hand in? So sorry,” Simon finished bitterly, sarcasm dripping from his lips like honey. He would never have thought to speak to his father so rudely just a year ago, but times had changed, and his father was the one who had changed them.
“We didn’t do this,” Gabriel told him, his voice lowering into a growl. “We didn’t make you break your sister out of the Academy.” Throwing an angry scowl to his daughter, it was the first time he’d even glanced in her direction since landing and the disgust evident on his face made Simon’s gut clench involuntarily. “We didn’t make you fugitives, Simon. You did that all yourself.”
“But you did,” Simon said, his frustration starting to surface. So help him if he didn’t want his father to understand, why he had no idea, the man would never accept him again, but he wanted that understanding, that respect. “You refused to listen to me, you just left River at the hands of those monsters,” he bit out, gesturing to the blue-handed agents still standing a fair distance away. “Your inaction forced my hand. I had to do something. She would have died there.”
“Simon, how can you think we would have let that happen?” His mother’s confused expression told him that she had little to no idea what he was talking about. Like any good core wife, she had been completely oblivious to her own family’s suffering, content instead to throw shallow parties and gossip about the latest in fashion. He said a silent prayer of thanks that Kaylee was not like that.
“It’s true.” River finally spoke up and all three sets of eyes looked to her. For her part, River held her father’s fierce gaze and said quietly, “I know that’s what you wanted. And you’re mad because Simon saved me.”
Regan’s hand flew to her mouth at River’s statement. How could her baby girl think they had wanted her dead? “No, sweetie, that’s not true. We thought that if we could successfully get Simon back, we could then try the procedure on you. That you could come back to us as well.”
River didn’t even blink, she just stared her father down. “Daddy, why don’t you tell mother the truth?” Her eyes bored into him and she enjoyed watching him squirm. “That was never your intention, was it?”
Turning fearful eyes to her husband, Regan had lost the ability to think. “Gabriel, tell her,” she ordered, her voice growing hard with anger. “Tell her now. That wasn’t the plan.” She felt her body grow cold rage. Feeling the very real need to injure someone, Regan clenched her fists at her side, determined to force her husband to tell the truth, to tell their baby girl that all they had ever wanted was for her to be healthy, happy and brilliant.
With fierceness in his eyes and anger in his voice, he turned to Regan and barked, “Shut up, wife.” He would not be called out by his wife. She had no business in any of this; as far as Gabriel was concerned, his wife’s claim to his children ended the minute they’d been born.
Stunned into silence by his rage, Regan could only stand, dazed, and stare at the family drama playing out before her now. Her entire world had just shattered; the man she’d thought she’d loved had lied to her, the biggest most horrible lie there was. Nothing would ever make that right, and now because of the blind trust she had placed in him, she was going to lose her son and daughter both, again.
“Temper, temper, father,” Simon scolded, enjoying the look of disgust that played across his father’s face. It was nice to have the upper hand for once. “You really should learn to control your anger.” Stepping forward, he said in his best doctor voice, “It’s really not healthy for a man your age.”
Lunging forward, Gabriel slapped Simon hard. His son reeled from the hit having been unprepared. River immediately stood between the two men, fuming and ready to lash out should their father attempt to hurt him again. Rubbing at his cheek and knowing the slap would leave a severe bruise Simon turned back to his father and said, “I always knew you had it in you.”
His father’s hands clenched and unclenched uselessly at his sides as he fought the very real urge to murder his son. Glancing over his shoulder to the agents at the shuttle’s ramp, he nodded once and silently they turned to enter the ship. River watched them go, pulling her thoughts away from the anger and rage playing out before her and directing them into the ship. Someone else was in there, someone else who was harboring a lot of fear. So consumed with her own emotions and the crew’s, River had missed this other presence, but she felt it clearly now, and inexplicably she knew this was all going to end very badly.
Turning to look at her brother, she whispered, “Simon,” but stopped as his eyes grew wide, all his anger draining out of him to be replaced by cold fear.
Following his gaze she saw that the blue-handed agents had brought a woman out of the ship, Alicia, Simon’s girlfriend from his old life who had insisted he stay on Osiris. They brought her down the ramp, her arms held painfully behind her back and a gun pointed at her head.
Turning a smug smile on his son, Gabriel said, “Now, what were you saying about coming home?”
Alicia had no idea what was happening. All she knew was that a few hours ago, she had been hopeful she’d get Simon back and now she was standing in front of him and his family, being held at gunpoint by decidedly scary men who she had thought did not exist.
Unable to keep her fear from her voice, she begged with Simon as his eye fell to her face. “Simon, please. Help me.” Her tears came in steady streams as she saw the unenviable position they all were in.
Watching intently, she saw as Simon, with a horrified expression, raged at his father, “Let her go. She has no part in this.”
“Oh, I’m afraid she does,” Gabriel said, looking back to Alicia. He very much liked the look of fear and pain that was playing on his son’s face. Simon should have learned never to underestimate a man with the money and resources of Gabriel Tam. “You see, son, she loves you and she wants you to come back to Osiris. She’s told your mother and I that if you don’t, she’ll die.” Turning back to Simon, he grinned evilly and said, “So, if you refuse, we’re just going to help her along.”
Gasping at the threat, Alicia felt the hold on her arms tighten and she bit her lip against the increased pressure. She watched as Simon very obviously struggled with his emotions. He was not the same man she had seen a month or so ago on Osiris; his posture was more confident, his face marked with hardship. His eyes, which had once been gentle and kind, were now tinged with an intensity that stopped her heart. Maybe he really had been fooled into leading a different life – maybe he really wasn’t the man she’d known, and loved.
“This is insane,” Simon ground out his eyes again blazing with rage. Stepping up to his father, the older man did not flinch despite his son’s obvious anger. “You can’t just kill her. She’s innocent in all of this.”
Shrugging slightly with no remorse, Gabriel said, “She chose to get involved with you. That makes her culpable.”
Simon’s eyes darted from his father’s hard face to Alicia. His heart went out to her; despite everything that had happened and all he’d remembered, he’d never wanted this for her. He’d never wanted her to be put in danger, to have her life threatened. He wondered vaguely if he didn’t bring this kind of peril to everyone he knew: he had brought it upon the crew, Kaylee, the Everetts, Millie and those kids … maybe he wouldn’t be better off living the safe, boring life of a core doctor, but he had a sinking suspicion that everyone else would be.
Whirling on him, River took him firmly by the shoulders and said, loud enough for only him to hear, “No. Don’t. You have to stay focused. Remember Kaylee,” she ordered him. Lowering her voice to nothing more than a whisper, she added, “Remember Daniel.”
Daniel, his son. Taking a deep breath and pushing his self-pitying thoughts away, Simon looked back to his sister with clear eyes. The unspoken question was all over his face and with the slightest of nods he knew she had a plan. And that was all he needed.
“It won’t work, father,” he said, his voice again strong and clear. “It won’t. You are not killing Alicia, and I am not coming back with you. We’re all going to walk away from this.”
Snorting derisively, Gabriel rolled his eyes and asked, “How can you be so naïve, Simon? I honestly thought that my son was smarter than this.”
“I am not your son,” Simon whispered fiercely, approaching his father and standing inches from his face. “Not anymore. You lost the right to call me son the minute you thought you could control my life.” And without warning and no fanfare, Simon landed a square and exacting punch to his father’s face, causing the man to stumble backwards.
Taking the momentary distraction her brother had afforded her, River was on the blue-handed men in a second, dropping the one with the gun with a swift blow to the back of the knees. While the other scrambled to get out of her range, he let Alicia go and the young woman fell to the ground sobbing. Regan joined her, trying to help her stand, but both women, utterly deflated, could only sit on the ground, Regan cradling the girl’s trembling form.
River blocked out their pain as she turned back to the agents, watching with satisfaction as they came back for more. Falling into an attack pattern that they had taught her at the Academy, River waited for them to make the first move and then easily countered it.
Simon and his father were still grappling a few feet from his sister’s battle site. Landing blow after blow to his father’s face and chest, Simon’s knuckles were now red, his blood mixing with that of the older man. His father retaliated with more precision than Simon would have guessed, and he fell hard as Gabriel’s fist connected with his right temple, causing his vision to black for a moment. Gabriel hauled him back to his feet, kicking him in the kidneys and yanking back his head by pulling violently on his hair.
Bringing his son’s ear to his mouth, he bit out, “Do you think this is what I wanted, Simon? You forced my hand. If you had just stayed on Osiris, as you were supposed to, none of this would be happening.”
Simon was worried he was losing his personal battle with consciousness, but his father’s righteousness spurred him on. Whipping his head back he felt his skull connect with his father’s nose and heard the man let out a yelp of pain at the sickening crack it made. Dropping Simon from his grasp, he whirled on his father, watching with some satisfaction as blood gushed from his now broken nose.
“You can blame me for this all you want,” Simon told him, spitting blood from his mouth as he stood tall in front of his father again. “But I’ll always know the truth and so will River. We’ll know that it was you, your pettiness, your pride, your greed that caused all of this to happen.” Glaring at him, as he tried to stymie the blood flow, Simon concluded, “And we’ll always know you never deserved the children, the wife or the life you’ve led. You deserve to rot in hell for all the pain you’ve caused.”
Gabriel was truly shocked by the tenacity of his son’s glare, by the fierceness of his anger and the strength of his fight. Obviously living on the fringe of acceptable society had taught him a few things.
With newfound rage, Gabriel launched himself at his son, going straight for his throat. The momentum of his attack knocked Simon backwards and they both fell hard, his father continuing to squeeze his throat as Simon struggled to fight him off. “No, Simon, you don’t deserve the life you’ve led,” his father whispered vehemently, spittle and blood dripping out of his mouth. “You’re the one who deserves to rot for your pride.”
And with strong hands, Gabriel squeezed and Simon felt his airway constrict, watched as his vision became dotted with black spots. Even as he clawed at the man’s hands he knew he wasn’t strong enough to push him away.
River was mired in her own fight, but she could feel Simon losing his battle with life. She could feel his pain as their father tried to kill him and with renewed intensity, she dropped another painful blow to the side of one of the agent’s heads. The kick landed her within reach of the dropped gun, and grabbing for it, she whirled around and blasted the other blue hand away. He fell beside his now unconscious partner with a thud and springing to her feet, River tackled their father, pulling him off of Simon just in time.
Simon gasped for air and could only lie there dazed for a minute as he watched his sister wrestle with their father. Hitting the girl hard in the chest, she staggered backward and lost her balance, dropping the gun in the process. Gabriel lunged for it and had it trained on her even as she regained her stance and Simon managed to stand.
Grinning to them tightly, with a crazed look in his eye, Gabriel glanced to Simon. “So, I’ll be the one to end this after all.” His smug expression made bile rise in Simon’s throat and with effort, he choked it back. “If I kill your sister, your reason for being on the run ceases to exist. You’ll have to come back to Osiris with us.”
His thoughts immediately falling to Kaylee and his son, Simon tried to control his anger, realizing the very real danger his sister was now facing. “No, I won’t.” He looked to River and saw her eyes never wavering from their father. Her chest was heaving with exertion, but she would not be intimidated, not by him. She had faced down too many real demons in her life for his idle threats to cause her worry.
Giving him a skeptical gaze, Gabriel muttered snidely, “What? Don’t tell me you’ve fallen for some prairie whore.”
Fighting the sudden urge to snap his father’s neck, Simon said nothing, but his silence spoke volumes. Shaking his head with barely contained disbelief, Gabriel murmured, “Unbelievable.” Again regarding River, he said, “Maybe I don’t want you back after all.”
River’s eyes flicked to Simon and with the slightest shake of his head he stilled her movements. She was ready to attack, ready to take the bullet her father so desperately wanted to pump into her if it meant she’d kill him. But Simon was not ready for that, he would not, could not sacrifice his sister for himself.
“What are you going to do, father,” he finally questioned, inching forward slightly. “Are you really going to shoot your own daughter?”
Gabriel did not answer, but instead kept the gun trained steadily on River’s small form. “It’s no use, Simon,” she told him, her voice steady, fearless. “He wants me dead. He’ll do it. He thinks he’ll get you back.”
Shaking his head in disgust, Simon said quietly, “No. If you do this, you’ll lose me for good.” Looking to his father’s profile, he saw the set of his jaw and the determination in his features. “You already have.”
He glanced to Simon once at this statement and it was the only opening River needed. With ingrained speed, she whipped out a sharp kick and knocked the gun from his hand. It went scattering across the landscape as River launched another attack to her father and was able to knock him unconscious.
As he fell to the ground with a sickening thud, River too collapsed in a heap, her body draining of the adrenaline that had kept her going. Simon also fell to his knees and crawled to her side, pulling her to him. She was shaking from pent-up fear and exertion and Simon tried to hold her steady. “Is it done,” she questioned him quietly, her eyes never leaving their father’s now unconscious form.
Glancing over his shoulder to where Alicia and his mother sat in stunned disbelief, he placed a kiss to her forehead and said, “Almost, mei mei. Almost.”
Whispering to her, he instructed her to tie up the unconscious agent, while tossing the other one’s body into the swamp at the edge of the cliff. She set about her task as Simon slowly and with great effort crossed the expanse to his mother and his friend.
He helped them both up, trying to avert his eyes from Alicia’s hopeful gaze and from his mother’s sad one. “Simon, is he …” His mother could not finish the thought as her eyes drifted to her husband’s motionless form.
“No, mother, he’s unconscious. He should come around in an hour or so.” The silence that hung between the three of them was palpable and Simon did not like it. But there was still so much to say, to do. He had to ensure his sister’s safety and the safety of his own family, he could not let something like this happen again.
Turning to give his full attention to his mother, he took her by the shoulders, forcing her to meet his gaze. “Mother, listen to me. For the first time in a long while, I need your help.” Her eyes widened slightly, but Simon pressed on. “Will you help me?”
Taking a moment to find her voice, she murmured, “Yes, son, of course.”
Simon let out a slight sigh of relief, and then wrapped an arm around her shoulder. “Good, let’s get out of here.”
Looking back towards her husband, Regan asked, “What about your father?”
Simon followed her gaze and watched as River joined them. “He’s not my father,” he said resolutely, turning back to face the shuttle. He felt River fall into step beside him and looking to him, she finished, “Not anymore.”
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