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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE
The crew arrives on Bayou, meets up with an "old friend," and gets more answers than they really wanted. Simon/Kaylee, embarassingly PG. Next chapter will be a return to the smut, I promise.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1538 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Roughly halfway between the innermost Core planets and the furthest Border worlds, Bayou was a planet of extreme wealth, extreme poverty, and everything in between. The first settlers had mostly been from an Earth That Was city called New Orleans, and the cities bore a strong resemblance to pictures of it that could be found on the Cortex. Most of the people living on the small planet were descendants of the original settlers, and usually called themselves Cajuns.
Serenity touched down outside Lafeyette settlement, a mostly middle-class village on the outskirts Orleans City, the captial. The streets that led away from the docks were lined with tall trees and modest houses, most of them white with wrought iron fences outside. Kaylee marveled at the beautiful gardens in front of most of the houses. The place had an old-fashioned, laid-back sort of elegance and charm to it.
The Mule stopped in front of a house at the end of one street. It was small, but still quite lovely, with a porch wrapping around to the back and a garden that seemed to take up most of the lawn, made up of different varieties of flowers, all in red.
"She always did seem to have a fixation with red." Simon told Kaylee, absently running his hand across a deep crimson, almost black rose that hung out from its bush over the walkway.
At the front door, the crew was met by a tall, broad-shouldered man who looked to be in his early thirties. "Dr. Tam?"
"That's me." Simon cleared his throat as he stepped forward.
"Michel Bouchard." The man replied in a heavy Cajun accent, extending his hand. "Penny's husband. Can't thank you enough for being here."
"Of course." Simon couldn't help but feel awkward. "This is my fiancee, Kaylee, my sister, River, and the rest of the crew." He cleared his throat. "Can you tell me exactly what happened to Penelope?"
Michel looked confused for a moment. "Oh! You mean Penny, right. No one's called her Penelope for a long while, longer than I've known her. Well, what happened is I came home two nights ago and heard Penny screamin' from outside the front gate. I come runnin' in, I see these two hundans standing there next to our bed, holding some kind of...I dunno what it was, it was blue and glowing, making some kind of humming sound."
"Two by two." River whispered. "Hands of Blue."
"Well, that's right." Michel looked stunned. "They hand these blue suits on under their clothes, covered their hands. It was some kind of rubber. Now how did she know that?"
"Don't ask." Mal spoke up. "Anyway, go on."
"Well, whatever this thing they had was, my head started hurtin' something fierce, and I saw blood coming out of Penny's ears and nose. I carry this shotgun with me when I'm working, in case of gators, and I didn't even think twice, I blew those sons of bitches away."
"What was Penel...Penny's condition at that time?" Simon asked.
"Same thing it is now." Michel replied. "She ain't bleedin' anymore, but she ain't woke up, either. She's shaking a bit, tossin' around. The town doc's been with her, but he can't make anything of what's happening."
"How did you get in touch with us?" Zoe asked.
"This fella showed up the next mornin', said he'd been trackin' those guys. Sounded like he knew you folks pretty well, and when he mentioned Dr. Tam, I remembered Penny talking about him."
"Is he still here?" Mal asked.
"Sure is, he's in the parlor. Nice guy, real polite. Not much of a sense of humor, though." Michel said. "I'm sorry, I'm forgettin' my manners, been a rough couple of days. Ya'll come on in, have a seat. Would anyone like something to drink? Sweet tea or water, maybe?"
"Perhaps I should see to Penny first." Simon replied. "Captain, I imagine you, Zoe, and Jayne would like to go greet our...'friend?'"
"Yeah, I do believe I would." Mal said.
Simon put up a hand to stop him. "Try not to kill him, at least not right away. He may be able to shed some more light on what happened to Penny."
"Can't promise we'll try." Mal shrugged. "We'll try to try, all right?"
Simon, Kaylee, and River followed Michel through the kitchen and down a narrow hallway into the bedroom at the back of the house. "Oh my God." Kaylee gasped, cringing at the sight before her.
"Dr. Tam?" The short, balding man next to the bed asked. "Dr. Samuel Chaumont. The patient is mostly stabilized, but her condition is still very grave. She's completely unresponsive."
Simon stepped forward, leaning over the young woman. "Have you given her anything?"
"Just something to counteract the seizures." Dr. Chaumont replied.
"Seizures?" Simon repeated. "Do you know what's been causing them?"
"No idea." Dr. Chaumont admitted. "I know, I shouldn't be giving her medicine for the seizures without knowing the cause, but please understand, our resources here are fairly poor. I decided that giving her the medication was at least slightly less risky than not treating the seizures at all."
Simon's face softened. "Of course, you had no choice. She would have died otherwise. The important thing now is to find out exactly what was done to her. Come on." He looked at Kaylee and River. "Can you stay with her, just for a few minutes?"
"Sure thing, honey." Kaylee replied, squeezing his hand gently. River just hung back next to the door, staring at the bed, her eyes wide. "Well, I'll keep an eye on her, anyway."
"Thank you." Simon kissed her softly, then took one last glance at the patient. As he did, something caught his eye. Moving over to the bed, he leaned in close and carefully pulled back the blanket that covered her.
"Wo de ma." Kaylee gasped. The young woman's arms and chest were literally covered in bruises. "They beat her up, too?"
"No, this kind of bruising doesn't result from being beaten." Simon replied, repulsed by the sight. "This is massive internal bleeding, worse than anything I've ever seen."
"How does something like that happen?" Dr. Chaumont asked. "My God, it's as if every blood vessel in her body was broken."
"I think you just answered your own question." Simon replied. With that, he strode out of the room and down the hallway, his fists clenching at his sides.
In the parlor, he found a rather awkward-looking scene. Mal, Zoe, and Jayne were standing across the room from the same man who had sent them the wave. They were glaring at each other, no one moving or saying a word.
Simon, on the other hand, was more than willing to make a move. In a second, he stormed over to the man and punched him square in the face, knocking him back against the wall.
"Now how come you get to hit him an' we don't?" Jayne asked.
"What the hell did they do to her?" Simon demanded. "What was it? Poison? A weapon? She's been having seizures, she's got signs of massive internal bleeding."
"It was a weapon. It emits an electromagnetic pulse strong enough to liquify the blood vessels, starting with the capillaries." The man, the Operative, he called himself, replied. "The blue suits protect against the EMP."
"And how much of it did she absorb?" Simon asked. "And what do I need to do to fix it?"
"From what I could tell, enough to cause minor internal bleeding over most of her body. It's superficial and it should heal on its own." The Operative replied. "What won't is the damage it caused to her brain, the equivalent of a moderate stroke. That's beyond your abilities, Dr. Tam."
"Now hold on." Mal spoke up, somehow uncomfortable with this man calling any member of his crew by name. "You best check your facts, you are talking to the best damn doctor there is outside the Core."
"He's right, Captain." Simon replied. "What he's talking about is neurosurgery. I'm a trauma surgeon. For me to attempt it, without an actual neurosurgen present, would be extremely dangerous, reckless even."
"Then what is it we're supposed to do?" Zoe asked.
"There's a hospital on Persephone, it's controlled completely by Independent sympathizers who have formed an underground resistance." The Operative said. "I've already contacted them, and they are waiting for her."
"Well, that's just shiny." Mal said. "Except for one thing. Why should we be trusting a single thing you've said?"
The Operative turned to him slowly, calmly. "That broadwave shattered every belief I could ever recall holding. At first, taking my own life seemed like the only option I had. But I realized that I couldn't. Not with the blood of thousands, perhaps millions of innocents who died because of the Alliance's deceit and brutality on my hands."
"I see. And after you avenge those innocents, you planning to throw yourself on your sword?" Mal asked.
"I was not born to this life." The Operative stated. "My life before I became an operative of the Parliment is a complete blank. My memory was wiped as part of my training. At the time, I accepted it because I believed in the cause. Now I know that cause was a lie. My life was erased for a lie. Believe me, Captain, our motives may be different, but our goal is the same."
"My goals don't have a a thing to do with the Alliance." Mal said, gritting his teeth.
"You want freedom." The Operative pointed out. "You want to be able to live your life. That is what I want. The only difference is I don't yet know what my life is, who I was before my memory was wiped."
Simon actually felt a small amount of sympathy for the man. "Why are you here?"
"I was following the assassins, based on intel I recieved from the resistance." The Operative explained. "I had hoped to arrive in time to stop the attack. Luckily, others arrived in a more timely fashion on Harvest. Your fiancee's family is safe." He nodded to Jayne. "Another man arrived on Three Hills in time to get your mother into hiding, as well as your siblings and their families."
"And my parents?" Simon asked.
"They were not targeted." The Operative replied. "Even after the Miranda broadwave, their support of the Alliance has not wavered." He looked almost apologetic.
"Right." Simon took a deep breath. "Well, I should probably get back to Penelope. I need to prepare her to be moved."
Back in the bedroom, River had moved to a chair, although she was still staring at the bed. Kaylee was leaning against the wall. "Hey." She smiled tiredly when she saw him.
"Hi." He kissed her forehead. "We're taking her to Persephone."
"You just missed meetin' her sister." Kaylee said. "She's sleeping with Michel."
Simon was taken aback. "Excuse me?"
"Yeah, that's basically what I said." Kaylee shrugged. "She just came in, introduced herself, and suddenly blurted out that he was comin' home late that night because he'd been with her."
"Guilty conscience." Simon observed.
"I didn't know what to say." Kaylee admitted. "So I just told her not to blame herself. Thing is, though, I ain't so sure that she shouldn't. What kind of person sleeps with her own sister's husband?"
"It's hard to imagine." Simon agreed.
Kaylee sighed and looked at Penelope again. "She's awful tiny. Pretty, too. You think she'll be okay?"
"She's strong." Simon said. "And she has her children. She'll fight because of them."
"Did you see her little boy?" Kaylee asked. She gestured to a picture on the wall. "Definitely ain't yours."
Simon looked at the picture, at the child's light brown skin and dark, curly hair. "No, that much is definite. I wonder where the kids are."
"Her sister's got 'em, her house is just a few down." Kaylee explained. "Poor little guy must be so scared. At least the baby's too young to understand what's happening."
"Kaylee, are you all right?" Simon asked, putting his arm around her waist.
"Better off than her." Kaylee assured him.
"Your family is safe, they've been taken into hiding." Simon told her. "Jayne's mother and family are safe as well. My parents were never at risk. Even after everything that's happened, they still support the Alliance."
Kaylee frowned and squeezed his hand. "I'm sorry, sweetie."
Simon managed to give her a small, sad smile. Then he turned to his sister. She didn't seem distressed, but there was something unnerving about her silence. "River?"
"I'm all right, Simon." She looked up at him and smiled, bright and clear-eyed. "I've been trying to talk to her, to tell her that everything's going to be all right now. I think she can hear me."
"That's good, mei-mei." Simon said. Still holding Kaylee's hand, he lay his free hand on his sister's shoulder.
Taking his eyes off of the Operative for a moment, Mal noticed something on the mantel above the fireplace. "Well, would you look at that?" He picked up the small frame that held the medal. "Zoe, you know who we've got here?"
Zoe recognized the name on the frame. "Vernon Antoine's girl?"
"Who's Vernon Antoine?" Jayne asked.
"We fought with him in the war." Mal explained. "He died at Sturges, recieved this posthumously. I sent it to his family myself."
"Huh." Jayne said. "Small 'verse."
"Doc?" Michel approached Simon as Mal and Jayne carried Penelope out to the Mule on a stretcher. "This here's Penny's kid sister, Mirielle. Mir, this is Dr. Tam and-"
"We've met." Kaylee interrupted, not meeting the young woman's eyes.
"I sure do appreciate what ya'll are doin' for my sister." Mirielle said. "She's the only kin I got left."
As Mirielle spoke, Denis stepped out from behind his aunt. "You're gonna help my mama?"
"Denis, don't speak out of turn." Mirielle told her nephew sharply. The little boy looked at the ground.
"It's all right." Simon said. He crouched down so he was at the child's eye-level. "Denis, I promise you that I will do everything I can to help your mother."
Kaylee couldn't help but smile. On the rare occasion that they encountered little children, Simon always spoke to them kindly, giving them more credit for having brains than other folks seemed to. Her smile faded when she saw the sour expression on Mirielle's face. Absently, she thought that the woman wasn't nearly as pretty as her sister. Then she wondered why she felt so protective of a woman she'd never met.
"We're all set." Mal announced. He looked at Michel, Mirielle, and the two small children. "You folks really should consider coming along to Persephone, or at least taking the kids and getting out of town for a while."
"We ain't going anywhere." Michel said.
"There's nothing stopping them from coming back." Simon pointed out. "You saw the Miranda broadwave, you know the damage it has done to the Alliance. They're going to do whatever they have to do to draw us out."
"And you saw what they done to my wife." Michel snapped. "I got a score to settle with those hundans. Believe me, they come back, I'll be ready for them."
Mal clenched his jaw, images of Haven, of Miranda, flashing through his mind. "You can't be ready for them. Look at what they did to a young woman asleep in her bed. You don't want to know what they'll do to someone who could fight back."
Michel looked at Mirielle and the children. "I can protect my home and family."
Simon fought the urge to say something, noticing the way Michel looked at his sister-in-law. "It's your choice."
"Unfortunately." Mal added under his breath, quietly enough that only Simon and Kaylee heard him.
Mirielle handed the baby to Michel and picked up a suitcase that was sitting on the ground next to her. "Just some things she might want after she wakes up. Some of her nicer clothes, some jewelery and make-up, and our daddy's medal."
Kaylee nodded and took the heavy case, still unable to look the girl in the eye. "I'm sure she'll appreciate that." But Mirielle was already walking away.
After helping to carry Penelope out to the Mule, Jayne had waited off to one side, leaning against a tree. Ever since Miranda, he'd often found himself unable to just go on with his daily life. It forced him to acknowledge just how deeply wrong things were in the 'verse, the things that the Alliance thought they could get away with.
"She's just another body to them." River's voice startled him. "A lump of flesh and bone that they can use and discard any way they see fit."
Jayne looked at her and snorted. "You'd think I'd be used to you sneakin' around like that."
"You don't like thinking about all those things." River said. "Can't help it."
"Just...ain't right." Jayne said with a frown. "They think they can just take what they want. Go into a house and try to kill her in her sleep, her little kids right down the hall. Ain't right what they did on Miranda, killin' all those folk who were just mindin' their own, coverin' it all up. Ain't right what they done to you, either."
"What they did to me saved your life." River shrugged.
"And don't think that we weren't grateful." Jayne admitted. "Still don't make it right. Little girls shouldn't be tearin' up Reavers and readin' minds. Should be sneaking outta the house and chasin' boys." He found himself more and more often saying exactly what was on his mind to her. Not like she wasn't going to know anyway.
"Simon wouldn't like me chasing boys." River giggled before skipping off.
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