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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Set four years after A NEW LIFE. Simon's life literally hangs in the balance and the two women in his life are helpless to save him. Simon/Kaylee, Mal/Inara, River/Jayne
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1607 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: Well, as everyone is just a tad concerned about the good doctoer after my last post (bwhahaha!), here is the next chapter. And don't worry, help arrives ... sort of.
Thanks to Leiasky for the beta and being the Angst Master.
None of the BDHs are mine, just writing for fun.
A NEW BEGINNING, ch. 16: Unexpected Heroes
As soon as River saw her brother throw himself into the line of fire, she reacted. It was an old reflex, one programmed into her years ago, but it held true, allowing her to lash out with a swift kick to Keller’s gun arm just as his first shot rang out.
Trying to ignore the cries of pain coming from around her and the anguish emanating from her brother, River tackled Keller and rolled him over, pinning his arms over his head with her knees as she reached for the gun and bringing it to bear on him, fired once.
She would not waste a minute, not even a second, on this piece of gou shi. Not when her brother needed her, not when his life was no swiftly draining from him. River would not give Keller the satisfaction of getting what he wanted: attention. She simply ended his miserable and pointless existence.
Throwing the gun away, she turned and ran back to her family, the distress she felt radiating off of them, making it impossible for her to do anything, but crawl to their side.
Mal and Jayne were enjoying a shot of some very fine whiskey on Millie’s porch when the sound of a gun shot rang out across the barren landscape. Both men bolted upright in an instant even as Inara flew out of the house, her hand immediately on Mal’s shoulder. Turning to regard her worried expression, he told her, “You get all the kids and you stay inside.”
Inara nodded once, kissing him lightly on the cheek as she moved back inside, passing a tense Zoe on the way. “I can’t find Rylee or Daniel,” she told her former crewmates. And then with a set jaw, she addressed Jayne. “Or River.”
Muttering a curse, Jayne turned to Mal, even as the other man hurried down the steps and towards the sound of the still echoing noise. They were a few steps from the house when a second shot sounded. Pausing in mid-step, Mal told his merc, “Maybe we oughta see if Thom and Walt wanna tag along.”
Nodding grimly, Jayne told him, “Meet ya there.” And with that, he turned and ran in the direction of the noise, his gut slowly churning as he knew wherever there was trouble was where he’d find his wife.
Kaylee wasn’t aware of much in those first few seconds. She had fallen hard to the ground with Rylee in her arms and as she sat up, her daughter still clinging to her fiercely, it had been all she could do to calm her down. Her eyes frantically searched for Simon and Daniel and when she heard her son’s anguished cry, her heart started to pound, fear and darkness welling in her.
Crawling over to her son, Kaylee’s breath caught in her throat as she took in Simon’s unconscious form. “Dad, c’mon, wake up!” Daniel was still pleading with his father, shaking his shoulder with both his hands now, trying to rouse him. Rylee had followed Kaylee to his side as well, and now she sat beside her brother, big, fat tears rolling down her cheeks, punctuated by a few small whimpers.
Kaylee focused on her husband, his pain the only thing she could concern herself with at the moment. She could not yet tell where he was injured, but she knew, with a certainty that she normally only bestowed on someone like River, that he was hurt, bad. Gasping, Kaylee sat beside him, running her hand through his hair.
“Simon, sweetie, you gotta wake up.” Her voice came in hiccups as she tried to reason with him. His face was already cold to the touch and Kaylee inched closer to his side, trying to warm him with her presence. “Simon, come on. Wake up for me, please.”
Tears falling steadily, Kaylee saw River appear at Simon’s other side, taking his hand in her own. As she stared down at it in shock, Kaylee shifted to see what had scared her sister and felt her stomach churn at the sight of the dark, slick substance covering River’s hand; it was blood, Simon’s blood.
The kids saw it too and both of them sat back in shock, recoiling from the sight. Rylee grabbed onto Daniel’s hand and instinctively the boy wrapped his sister in a strong hug, even as his own tears came and he started to cry.
With even greater urgency, Kaylee pressed a kiss to Simon’s cheek and squeezed his other hand tightly, “Simon, please, please, you gotta open those pretty eyes for me, ‘kay? I need you.” There still was no response and Kaylee could not take his silence, not now. “Simon, wake up.” She ordered it, putting as much authority into her voice as she could muster and still getting nothing for her efforts.
“Simon,” she whispered, glancing over her shoulder to take in the sight of their two children. Fleetingly she thought of their third one on the way and more tears formed in her eyes. Pressing another kiss to his cheek, she whispered to him, “You ain’t missin’ out another baby. I ain’t gonna let ya. Now wake up, please.”
As if on command, Simon’s eyelids did flutter open and Kaylee’s heart leapt for joy. Smiling at him through her tears, she continued to run her fingers through his hair.
“Kaylee?” His voice was hoarse and stilted, his pain making it difficult for him to form thoughts or words.
“I’m here, baby,” she told him, her breath hot against his cheek. “We’re okay. You’re gonna be okay, just try not to talk.”
The shake of his head was barely noticeable, but Kaylee could feel it. She could feel everything and Simon’s pained whisper shook her to the core. “I love you, Kaylee. Remember that.”
Kaylee sobbed and pressed her lips to his cheek. “I ain’t gonna hafta remember ‘cause you’re gonna remind me everyday, ya hear me?” Simon was fading again, Kaylee could see it as his eyes glossed over. “Simon, ya hear me? Simon, come on, stay awake!”
She was begging him, pleading him to stay with her, but he knew he couldn’t. He wasn’t sure exactly how bad his injury was or where it was, but the numb feeling below his waist told him it wasn’t good. “I love you, Kaylee. I love Daniel. I love Rylee. I love you all so much. Don’t ever doubt that, please,” he murmured in a breathy whisper and then again his eyes fluttered shut.
“No, Simon!” Kaylee cried out to him, trying to get him to stay with her. Flattening her hand to his face, she told him, “We love you. You gotta be strong, Simon, please? For me and for this baby. Please, Simon, we need you.” But it was no use, he was again lost to them and Kaylee tried to cradle his limp form in her arms as best she could. She was growing numb, slowly, and only the sounds of her children’s pained cries from behind her kept her tethered to reality. Their cries and the knowledge of the new life she was carrying.
Kaylee wailed and River watched, her eyes burning with unspent tears. Simon had told them all he loved them, but not her. He had not even seen her as he’d been lying there, in pain and quickly losing consciousness. Despite her words to him earlier that day, despite her desire to say them and mean them, she felt such betrayal at his omission, she could hardly breathe.
She didn’t want to, she didn’t want to be jealous or hurt, but if he never opened his eyes again … it couldn’t happen, she couldn’t let it. Especially not with Kaylee pregnant again. Simon had too much to live for and River knew that regardless of her feelings of neglect, she would do anything, now and always, to keep him with her.
With a suddenness that startled them all, Jayne came bursting into the clearing, his eyes sizing up the situation in an instant. Rising quickly, River ran to him, crying against him as he held her tightly. “What happened here, baby girl?” he asked, his eyes still searching the scene.
“Keller tried to kill Simon. But Simon saved them. He’s hurt – badly,” she told him, her short sentences coming between sobs. Before Jayne could even try and assess Simon’s injuries, Mal, Walt and Thom entered the area as well, the two older men carrying lanterns that shed light on the gruesomeness of the situation, throwing all of their pain in recognizable relief.
Thom and Mal moved to Kaylee’s side instantly, Rylee and Daniel clinging to their grandfather, as Walt moved to check on Keller’s lifeless form. Mal knelt at Simon’s side, trying to determine where he was hit. Kaylee simply laid against Simon’s chest, her eyes still crying silent tears as she murmured to him, reassurances and words he would probably never hear.
Placing a light hand against the crown of her head, Mal asked her, “Mei mei, where’s he hurt?”
“He saved us,” was all she could get out, as Mal continued to search the doc’s motionless form in the dim light.
Moving from Jayne’s embrace, River knew it would be up to her to help now as Kaylee’s fear had overwhelmed her. “His back, Daddy,” she told him, kneeling beside Mal and helping the other man turn Simon slightly onto his side.
His eyes widening slightly at the size of the wound, Mal caught Jayne’s gaze over his shoulder and then turned to address Walt and Thom. “I’m gonna go back an’ get the mule, I don’t think we should try ta carry him.” Looking into the frightened faces of Rylee and Daniel and then back to Thom he said, “Why don’tcha y’all come with me?”
Thom nodded once, but both Rylee and Daniel fought him, running instead to Kaylee’s side where she still lay against their father. “No, we wanna stay with mama,” was all any of the adults could make out as the children searched for purchase on her limp form.
Hearing their voices and feeling their light touch, pulled Kaylee from the far-off place her mind had retreated to. Sitting up a bit, she wiped her cheeks and placed one hand against each of their faces. “Listen ta me,” she told them firmly, her voice showing more strength than anyone present would have thought possible. “I want you to go with your grandpa back home and be good, ya hear?”
Both children started to protest and Kaylee turned a stern and practiced ‘mother’ look on them that silenced both children immediately. “Your daddy’s gonna be all right, but we gotta take care of ‘im. As soon as you can see ‘im, I’ll come an’ get ya.”
“Promise?” Rylee asked in her little, broken voice, her hand reaching up to clutch at Kaylee’s.
Pressing a light kiss to her forehead and then one to her son’s she whispered, “Promise.” Hugging them to her for just a moment, she finally turned them back over to her father, who had stepped forward, and said gently, “Now go.”
Thom collected Rylee in his arms, and took Daniel’s small hand in his own, reaching down to plant a kiss to Kaylee’s forehead, before starting the trek back towards the house. Mal, not wanting to waste anymore time, had already gone.
Walt moved forward enlisting Jayne’s help to try and stymie some of Simon’s bleeding. Kaylee resumed her vigil at his side, continuing to whisper to his still form. Her fingers ran over and over again through his soft hair, her whispered words of love and devotion doing nothing to wake him. Unable to hold back her tears and unable to fight her despair, Kaylee let her forehead drop to his shoulder as she continued to cry. River watched it all in silence, her grief and pain fighting with her desire to help.
Finally, she moved to Kaylee’s side and placed a hand on her sister’s shoulder. Even though the other woman did not turn to regard her, River knew she was listening as she said, “Protected you and the kids. Kept you safe.”
Kaylee sobbed louder at her words, praying that her pride and foolishness had not just cost her the man she loved.
Once they got Simon back to the clinic, Millie did what she could, but it wasn’t much. She was not trained to treat gun shot wounds, let alone ones to the back, nestled in and among vital organs and nerves. She was able to stop his bleeding, but with a heavy heart she informed Mal, Inara, Jayne and River that he needed medical attention, real medical attention and he needed it fast.
Kaylee did not hear this as she was by his side. She had refused to leave him for even a moment and now, as he lay prone on the exam table an IV inserted in his arm and his vital signs blinking and beeping on monitors around him, Kaylee sat next to him, one hand clutching his while the other continued to run fingers through his hair.
It was Inara who finally approached her, quietly, on light feet. Placing a hand on her shoulder, Kaylee did not turn to regard her, but said, “It’s my fault, ‘Nara. I tol’ him he couldn’t protect us.”
Her eyes welling with sympathetic tears, Inara murmured, “No mei mei, it’s not your fault. You didn’t do this. Simon would have taken that bullet regardless because he loves you.”
Kaylee bit back a sob, as the woman wrapped her arms around her friend’s shoulders and hugged her for a bit. Finally, she whispered, “Kaylee, he’s not out of the woods.”
Turning a tear-streaked gaze to her, Kaylee blinked first at Inara and then at Jayne, River and Mal who were all standing in the doorway, dour expressions gracing their features. “But he’s gonna be, right?” She searched for Millie and saw the woman’s taut face, her downcast eyes. “He’s gonna be okay, right?” Her voice had risen in pitch and volume and Inara flinched involuntarily at the strangled sound.
With a helpless gaze, Inara regarded her husband, who stepped forward, placing his hands on Kaylee’s shoulders. “We certainly hope so, darlin.’ Your ma and pa went to go get the doc. But it’ll take them an hour or so to get t’him and an hour or so t’get back. So we just gotta sit tight, dong ma?”
Kaylee nodded weakly, more tears falling as she turned back to Simon. “Okay, cap’n,” she said quietly, her voice barely more than a whisper.
Leaning forward, she whispered against Simon’s cheek, “Ya hear that, sweetie? Ya just gotta hang on a couple more hours and everythin’ll be right and shiny again.”
River couldn’t stomach another word and pulling away from Jayne’s side, she ran out of the room, flinging open the door and running into the night. Jayne followed of course, and was able to catch up to her as she paced an angry path across the yard.
Pulling on her elbow, he whirled her around and saw her pain playing across her face. “Oh baby,” he whispered, reaching out to hold her, but with a fierce tug, she pulled away from him. Her tears falling, she told him, “Don’t. I was mean and selfish, so just don’t.”
Confused, Jayne asked, “Selfish? How? You shot that hundan and kept him from hurtin’ Kaylee or the kids. How’s that selfish?”
River shook her head, trying to rid herself of the hurt, trying to clear the pain. He wouldn’t understand, Jayne could never grasp how her momentary shot of jealously as Simon lay on the ground, in pain, rendered her so completely dumbstruck. He wouldn’t understand how that reaction to her brother’s and sister’s pain made her sick to her stomach.
Turning, she wretched violently and Jayne was by her in an instant, a steadying hand on her back. He tried again to take her in his arms, but she continued to pull away, staggering back from him a bit as her vision swam. There was too much, too much happening – Simon’s pain, even muted through unconsciousness and Kaylee’s pain, real and raw, were like stab wounds to her, each one driving in and out repeatedly. Moving away from Jayne, she threw up again, this time sinking to her knees as her body finally gave out under the pressure of such much emotion.
Jayne watched her for a moment, waiting for her to get up and run from him again. But as she stayed put, he approached her, and kneeling at her side, lifted her face to meet his gaze. She was pale and gaunt, a light sweat having broken out along her forehead. Panting a bit, she told him weakly, “I thought I could let go. And I told him he had to let me go, but – I can’t let go.”
Confused, Jayne watched as her head again fell forward and she started to cry. Then with a weariness in her step that was all too familiar, River rose, and resolutely strode back to the house, entering the quiet room of the clinic and sitting opposite Kaylee at her brother’s side. River would keep her own vigil, just as Kaylee kept hers.
All Kaylee could do was stare. Her fingers moved absentmindedly over his wrist, rubbing back and forth with a gentle touch that had long ago become second nature. Her other hand rested against his cheek or his shoulder, sometimes running through his hair, which was wetting with sweat as his body struggled to fight off the infection and affects of the bullet that lay wedged in his back.
But her green eyes, full of tears, did not waver from his pale face. Staring with barely a blink, she watched him, watched as his chest slowly rose and fell in time, watched as his skin grew paler and more gray; watched from his side as the doctor arrived and assessed his injuries; watched in horror as the kindly old man told her there wasn’t much he could do except make Simon comfortable.
“Whatda ya mean, doc?” Thom’s voice was soft, but strong and his eyes, normally kind, bore into the town doctor he had known for the better part of four decades.
“I’m sorry, Thomas,” the man said, shaking his head as his eyes flicked to Kaylee’s motionless form and then back to his friend. “But I don’t have the equipment or the skill to remove that bullet and make sure that boy can still walk in the morning. At this point, leaving it be is better than ripping it out.”
Kaylee’s tears had begun to fall slowly. She heard the man’s assessment, heard the chagrin in his voice as he knew he was not good enough to save the man lying on the table before him. She felt Inara’s light hand come to rest on her shoulder as her friend asked, “Kaylee? Did you hear that?”
River’s big brown eyes, also full of tears looked up from her brother’s face and studied Kaylee’s. “She understands, but she doesn’t comprehend,” she whispered, her voice hoarse from her emotion.
“So then, whatda we do?” Thom’s voice cut through the sudden tension that had enveloped the room.
Sighing again, the doctor said sadly, “I can make him comfortable, ease some of his pain, but …” He let his voice die and then finally said, “I’d say if’n you know anybody who can get him some real medical help, now’d by the time to call in a favor.”
Again, Kaylee heard the words and with a choked cry, she leaned forward and rested her head against Simon’s shoulder. “Simon, please,” she whispered, her voice breaking as more tears fell. “Please, sweetie, you gotta wake up and tell us what to do.”
There was no response, which only increased Kaylee’s crying. Everyone in the room, from River to Inara to Jayne to Kaylee’s parents to the doctor looked on with a mixture of horror and sadness as Kaylee cried over her husband.
Kaylee shut out all other distractions as her field of vision, her entire existence became consumed by her husband in that minute. With a long, soft kiss to his cheek, Kaylee buried her head in the spot between his neck and shoulder, one hand circling the other side of his face and stroking his cheek.
“You gotta wake up, Simon,” Kaylee was whispering, not aware as her father ushered the doctor from the room or Inara, consumed with sadness for her friend, backed into her husband’s strong arms. She didn’t see Jayne’s eyes well with tears not for her, but for his wife, whose helpless expression chilled him. Kaylee didn’t notice any of it as she continued to murmur, “I need ya. More than I ever thought I would. And our babies, they need ya.” Swallowing back more tears, she whispered, “And this new baby, it’s gonna need its daddy. Please, Simon,” she finally breathed, again kissing his cheek, wishing he would warm and waken at her touch. “Please don’t leave me. I don’t wanna live without you, not again. Please.”
Crying too heavily now to speak, Kaylee turned her face and buried it against his shoulder as the rest of her family looked on. River watched her sister and brother with a sadness that could have easily consumed someone else. Her tears fell steadily, dripping down her face and along the edge of her chin where they fell against the top of her dress. Her helplessness was all-encompassing and even as River squeezed Simon’s hand, silently berating him for being so weak, she knew that she was losing him and she feared the devastation his absence would bring.
Suddenly, with a sharp intake of breath and jerk of her shoulders, River sat up, her head cocking to the side and listening intently to a far-off noise and an even farther off thought. Her heart filling with hope she’d thought dead to her, River reached out her hand and patted Kaylee’s shoulder, getting the girl’s attention.
Smiling at her through her tears, she murmured, “She’s here,” and then, like a shot, she bolted from her seat, sweeping out the room and into the approaching dawn, so fast even Jayne had trouble keeping up with her.
Once outside, he saw as she came to a halt in the middle of the yard, her face turned expectantly to the north as if awaiting something. Standing beside her, Jayne asked, “River, darlin’? What’s goin’ on? Who’s here?”
Turning to Jayne and smiling at him, she told him simply, “Help.”
About to question her again, Jayne’s query died on his lips as the sound of an approaching ship pierced through the early morning light. Following River’s gaze, he watched as a ship, a transport judging by its size, sleek of design and shiny, dipped into their field of vision, settling itself a hundred or so yards away, landing quite neatly next to Serenity.
With a quizzical gaze, Jayne turned again to his wife and asked, “Who is that?”
Rolling her eyes at him with her best “idiot” look, River took his hand and said again, “Help.”
Deciding any additional questioning at this point would truly be a gesture in stupidity, Jayne waited and watched as the ship expelled its passengers, the three people alighting onto a hovercar to spare themselves the ten minute walk to the houses. As they approached rapidly, Jayne saw River’s body tense from the corner of his eye. She was biting her lower lip in anticipation, bouncing on the balls of her feet and Jayne had to wonder who, with obviously a lot of money, could cause his wife to respond like that.
And then, as the car slowed, he put two and two together and turned to greet their guests with wide eyes.
As Regan was helped down from the car, her eyes met and held River’s gaze, her daughter waiting until she had both feet on the ground before rushing into her arms.
Hugging her tightly, Regan felt immediate tears spring to her eyes. She had hoped and prayed that this was the kind of reception she would receive, but she had never truly let herself belief it was possible. Now, when it had actually happened it was almost overwhelming.
Pulling back from her quickly, River grabbed her mother’s hand and met her watery eyes with her own intense gaze. “We have to hurry,” she told her and then, pulling and dragging her mother behind, she made it back to the clinic.
Jayne waited until the driver and the other man who had accompanied River’s mother moved to follow and then fell into step behind them. Despite River’s obvious relief at seeing her mother, Jayne was still a tad wary of the woman who had willingly erased her son’s memory; keeping watch was the only sensible thing to do.
Regan was confused as River pulled her forcibly up the stairs. “Sweetheart, what’s so important? What’s wrong?”
River did not answer her, but simply swung open the door. As Regan’s eyes traveled from her daughter’s flushed face to the scene inside, she felt her breath freeze in her lungs.
There, lying on a table in the middle of the room, was her son, his skin pale and a little gray. At his side was a lovely and distraught young woman, her honey-colored hair the only thing Regan could see as she buried herself against her son’s shoulder. Four others stood at the edges of the room, broken into pairs, but Regan did not stop to introduce herself, as she rushed into the room and stood on Simon’s other side, River at her heels.
“What happened?” she asked, her voice halting, as she reached out to run a hand down her son’s cold cheek. The woman lying at his side did not even acknowledge her presence, but instead continued to whisper words that no one could hear.
“Keller shot him,” River said succinctly, her eyes flicking to Simon before again studying her mother.
Regan’s breath hitched in her throat as she again turned to regard River. “Keller?” The word was a breathless whisper, but River confirmed it for her once with a simple nod. Closing her eyes against more tears, this time ones of despair and foolishness, Regan breathed a string of curses that were not appropriate for a woman of her standing. “That fool,” she finally bit out. Looking back to Simon, she asked, “How bad is it?”
Taking her hand, River waited until her mother had pulled her eyes away from her son and focused on her. “Bad.” It was all she said, but River knew it was all Regan needed to hear. Nodding once, the older woman looked to her driver and bodyguard as they stood in the door, Jayne at their backs.
“Move my son into the hovercar and tell the pilot to get the ship prepped.” Regan spoke with a tone of practiced command, and it was this different voice that jolted Kaylee from her daze.
Finally, looking up, recognition dawned on her face in an instant, and an even colder hand clenched at her heart. She had seen plenty of captures of the woman across from her now, ones that Simon had never wanted her to see, but ones he had shown her nonetheless. Rising and standing slowly, Kaylee kept her hands firmly clenched around her husband’s and stared at the woman as she said, in a deadly tone, “No.”
Shock registered in Regan’s features as she looked up to meet the other girl’s green eyed gaze. She saw a fierce protectiveness and loyalty there that at once warmed and chilled her heart. But she also saw love and that brought her joy, to know her son was cared for. “Sweetheart, we have to get him the proper medical attention. He needs to come with me.”
More tears, of anguish and anger, spilled down Kaylee’s face as she reaffirmed her grip on Simon’s hand and said harshly, “No. You’re not takin’ him.”
River could feel Kaylee’s certainty that this woman, Simon’s mother, could not take him again, and she knew that she had to put an end to it. Circling the bed, she reached out and placed a light hand to Kaylee’s shoulder, getting a scathing look in return. “Kaylee, it’s okay. She’s going to help. She just wants to help.”
“You don’t know that,” she bit out, her voice a low growl. “She’ll take ‘im again.”
“No, child I won’t.” Regan risked speaking up, taking a step back as Kaylee turned those fierce eyes to her again. “I promise you, I just want to help him. You’re welcome to come with us. You can stay with him the whole time, I promise.”
Kaylee studied the woman for a moment more, wondering if she could truly trust her. She didn’t want to, but as she again gazed down to Simon’s unconscious form and saw his face growing grayer by the second, she swallowed her fear. At least if she went with him, they’d be together, no matter the outcome. Her eyes still locked on his face, Kaylee murmured, “I ain’t leavin’ ‘im.”
Smiling slightly, Regan told her, “I wouldn’t expect you to.” Glancing past River, Regan nodded again to her men and they moved forward. Mal and Thom moved forward as well to help, as River went to Jayne. Wrapping her arms around his waist, she pressed a light kiss to his lips and said, “I have to go too.”
He nodded once and told her, “Then so do I.”
River thought about fighting him on it, telling him she would be fine, but the truth was she was getting shakier by the second and she wanted him there. Especially if Simon could not pull through this.
Inara moved to Kaylee’s side as the men moved Simon onto the stretcher, and wrapped her arms around Kaylee’s shoulders, pulling her tight to her. Pressing a kiss to her temple, Inara whispered in her ear, “He’s going to be all right, mei mei. Once you get him to a good doctor, he’ll be fine, you’ll see.”
Nodding, Kaylee could only continue to stare at her husband. Finally, in a small voice she told her friend, “Rylee an’ Daniel.” Turning to face Inara, Kaylee said, “I need ‘em to come. They need to be with me, in case …” Kaylee let the sentence hang in the air, unwilling and unable to finish it.
Not questioning her, Inara squeezed her shoulder once and said, “I’ll go get their things. We’ll be back in just a few minutes.”
Kaylee nodded once, and then turned back, watching as they moved Simon and the stretcher with measured steps through the room and out the door. River appeared at her side, a strong arm wrapping around Kaylee’s shoulders. “He’ll be okay,” River told her, wishing she believed the words.
Kaylee did not answer her as both women followed Simon’s unconscious form into the bright light of morning.
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