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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
River is triggered again and the crew desperately tries to figure out what to do as they race for a planet with adequate medical facilities to save Simon's life. *set afetr the film* S/K
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1837 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Yet another idea that came to me in the middle of the night and refused to let me sleep.
This was originally supposed to be a nice little oneshot with an ambiguous ending. But as you can see, I decided to continue it.
The title, while not one of my favorites, was appropriate. It is derived from one of Jayne's lines in the film. 'Now that she's a killer woman we ought be bringing her tea and dumplings.'
Thanks to Tamsibling for the beta.
Click here for the Prologue.
With unblinking eyes, River walked determinedly down the hallway, feet ghosting noiselessly over the grating. Once she reached the galley, she looked around the room, her eyes finally settling on the lazy susan sitting in the middle of the table, knives of all shapes and sizes resting within a small container atop it.
Slim fingers curled around a medium-sized blade and when she lifted it, the metal gleamed red as the light struck it, giving the appearance of a flame licking at the edged steel. She continued on her way, walking with a slow, determined step toward the passenger dorms. A small smile quirked her lips when she found the door locked. Did they not know there was nothing that could keep her from her appointed task?
River made quick work of the lock and slid open the door, her eyes glowing like a feral animal stalking its prey as she stared at her sleeping brother. One bare foot and then the other crossed the threshold, bringing her yet closer to the completion of her mission.
She stared unemotionally down at Simon, her eyes flicking only once toward Kaylee as she shifted in his arms.
With an instinct born to all people intuitive enough to know when they are being watched, Kaylee’s eyes popped open. She yawned and blinked quickly to remove the haze of sleep from her mind and vision. As she leaned up on her elbow, Simon groaned and turned to look sleepily at her just as River’s knife started its downward motion.
“River!” Kaylee screamed she watched the blade disappear into Simon’s side.
He cried out in pain, clutching at the wound as the knife was pulled none too gently from his side. “River?” Simon breathed, his eyes struggling to comprehend what he was seeing.
“I’ll miss you, Simon.” River hugged him tight as the transport stood waiting to take her away to the Academy.
“No you won’t,” Simon smiled tightly. “You’ll be so busy you’ll forget all about us.”
River felt his fear and heartache at their parting as deeply as she felt her own. She would miss him when he was gone. But this was something she had to do.
Kaylee continued to scream, gesticulating wildly in hopes of getting River to stop her murderous actions. River’s knife slashed at her arms before going down on Simon again, plunging deep into his bare flesh and into bone.
“River stop!” Kaylee screamed, throwing herself over Simon in hope of deterring the knife’s intended path. The sharp blade sliced across Kaylee’s shoulder and the older girl flinched backward, instinctively trying to protect herself.
For a split second there was silence and Kaylee’s frightened eyes met Simon’s pain-filled ones. He coughed, blood dripping from the corner of his mouth as he tried to breathe, and whispered breathlessly a word which reminded her how she could stop River’s mindless, crazy actions.
“Oh!” Kaylee gasped as River’s hand curled around her arm and yanked her off the bed. But she hadn’t heard the whole phrase he’d used that day in the Maidenhead. “No! Simon!”
“Your brother doesn’t love you.”
“Yes he does,” River shook her head, hesitating.
“He hasn’t answered your letters, has he?” The instructor asked.
River’s body shook violently as she held the small blade in her hands.
Tears dripped down River’s cheeks. “No.”
“He will not come for you.”
Kaylee could see the knife rise again, and she knew that if it hit Simon this time, there was no way he would live through it. It amazed Kaylee that River’s first strike hadn’t killed him outright. But there was a hesitation, some brief hiccup, yet again, in the downward motion of the blade. Before she could push herself to her feet and launch herself at River’s back, Mal appeared in the doorway and put River to sleep.
“Eta kooram nah smech!”
River’s eyes rolled into the back of her head and she collapsed like a sack of dead flesh, the knife falling from her hands to land at her feet.
A moment of shock rippled through the room before Kaylee’s cries brought them all back to themselves. The girl was covered in blood and as she groped for the blanket, a sheet, anything to stem Simon’s bleeding, Mal hurried to her side, Inara, followed, a few very long minutes later, by Zoe.
Inara, who hadn’t even bothered to smooth her disheveled appearance when Mal had leapt out of her bed, hurried to Kaylee’s side. “Mei mei!”
“Simon, please, “Kaylee touched his cheek, brushing the blood from her hand across his smooth skin. “Wake up, sweetie, you gotta tell us what to do.”
“Jayne,” Mal called, knowing the man was standing outside, Vera aimed at the unconscious River. “Get in here and help me with him.”
Kaylee pressed harder on the wounds and Inara had to hold her back as Mal and Jayne lifted the unconscious doctor and carried him to the Infirmary.
“Got her, Sir.” The first mate already had River in her arms and carried her in the opposite direction as soon as the men had left with Simon.
Kaylee stood on shaky legs and tried to follow but Inara restrained her. “Lets get you cleaned up, mei mei.”
“No, I need to help Simon. I need to –“
“Mal and Jayne have him, mei mei.” Inara started to pull at the shirt she wore. “We need to get you out of these.“ She opened a drawer and only finding Simon’s clothes, turned to Kaylee. “We’ll go to your room and –“
“No,” Kaylee said, her voice quiet but determined. She opened a drawer, smearing blood on the handle as she did so, and plucked out a pair of Simon’s sweatpants. Inara helped her shrug out of the shirt and she rubbed at her hands and arms getting most of the blood off her skin. Quickly, Kaylee pulled on the pants, opened another drawer and plucked out one of Simon’s undershirts. She ignored the pain in her arms and in her shoulder as adrenaline surged through her body. She was cold, deathly so, but it was the first garment she’d come across and it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that she get dressed and get back to Simon’s side.
Kaylee glanced at the bed as they passed it and swallowed thickly before bolting out of the room, Inara on her heels.
“This is bad, Sir,” Zoe said as she worked to stop the bleeding and stabilize their rapidly crashing patient.
“I know that, Zo,” Mal said as he rifled through drawers for the medicine he’d need.
“He needs a doctor.” Zoe winced as she tried to slow the blood seeping out of Simon’s side.
“Then wake ‘im up.”
“Ain’t sure that’s ever gonna happen again, Sir.” Zoe didn’t look up.
“Jayne,” Mal called back to the man who stood against the far wall, a disgusted look on his face at the sight of so much blood. “Get over here and hold this. I need to go change course.”
“Closest planet with anywhere near decent medical facilities is Verbana, Sir.”
Mal let off a string of curses just as Kaylee and Inara made it to the infirmary door. “We’ll have to chance it. We gotta get him there.”
“Jayne!” Mal called again and relinquished the pressure on Simon’s chest only when he was well and truly sure Jayne could handle taking over for him. He snatched a rag off the counter and turned to Inara. “Whatever she needs, get it for her? Jayne’s stoppin’ the blood.”
Kaylee opened her mouth but Mal addressed her next. “You stay right here, dong ma? Don’t get closer. You can see ‘im when Zoe’s all done.”
For a moment, Kaylee looked as if she had no intention of obeying that order but as Mal’s eyes bored into her, she nodded, consenting to remain in the doorway. With a heavy sigh and a last, hesitant look at Inara, Mal raced for the bridge, hoping that they could reach the planet in time to get their doctor the help he needed.
Instruments beeped and chimed around the infirmary and as Zoe looked up, finally finished with her task, she sighed sadly at them.
“Ain’t there no way you can shut them things off?”
“We need to know how he’s doing, Jayne.” Zoe rolled her eyes at him.
“You don’t know how to read them anyways,” Jayne said as he washed the blood off his hands in the small sink. He glanced back at Simon’s pale body. “He ain’t gonna make it anyway.”
“Jayne!” Inara’s glare silenced him immediately.
“Ain’t true,” Kaylee said. Her voice was small, but her determined tone made her belief evident in everything she said. “He’s strong. He can make it through this.” She stepped up to the sink, ignoring that Jayne was still scrubbing at his hands, and took a small bowl and rag. Slowly, she rolled the stool up to the diagnostic chair and began gently sponging the blood off Simon’s bare skin.
The calm with which Kaylee worked both stunned and confused Jayne, and Zoe stepped up to the younger woman and placed a clean hand on her shoulder. “Kaylee, you don’t have to –“
“He’s gotta be clean ‘fore we get to Verbana, right?” Kaylee didn’t look up, just continued calmly with her task. “I gotta do somethin’. I just can’t sit. Gotta keep busy.”
For the first time, Zoe noticed the cuts on Kaylee’s arms, the deeper cut on her shoulder. “Honey, let me look at these.” She touched a bit of dried blood beside a few inch long cuts and raised her hands, palms out, when Kaylee flinched away.
“Am fine, Zoe. Gotta –”
“Let me clean these. They don’t look too deep but I don’t want them to get infected.” Zoe didn’t wait for approval before she swiped the antiseptic off the counter, overturned it into a rag, and then dabbed it along the first cut she found on Kaylee’s arm.
“Kaylee, let Zoe clean the cuts,” Inara reinforced as she finished cleaning her hands and stopped beside the two women.
Kaylee flinched but made no move to stop Zoe as she continued carefully washing the dried blood off Simon’s face. She spoke to him in soft whispers as if no one was there and the two older women exchanged looks that spoke volumes. When Zoe noticed Jayne listening intently, she narrowed her eyes at him, a clear indication that he should leave the room.
“Yeah, well, I’m gonna go check on moonbrain.”
“Don’t go in there, Jayne,” Zoe warned, moving to the longer cut on Kaylee’s shoulder, and bandaging it. “You know what happened the last time you did.”
“Can you leave us alone please, Zoe?” Kaylee lifted hollow eyes toward the older woman and Zoe felt her heart plummet into her stomach. She knew this feeling of helplessness all too well and it was something she would never have wished on such a bright, happy girl.
Zoe simply nodded, replaced the antiseptic and the rag and left Kaylee with her dying boyfriend.
Inara, similarly, said nothing, simply kissed Kaylee’s cheek and left the room. Knowing everyone would be gathering in the galley, she made her way there, her heart heavy.
Kaylee didn’t even watch them go, she simply brushed her fingers through Simon’s hair and tried to force a smile when she remembered back to how much he loved it when she did that. His hair was soft and silky to the touch but when her fingers touched his bare skin, she trembled at how cold he felt. Cold and clammy.
“Ya gotta keep warm, Simon. Won’t do to have ya freeze to death.” Kaylee meticulously cleaned every spot of blood she found on his skin and studiously ignored the sleep pants he still wore which were covered with the crimson fluid. “I’ll get ya a blanket to keep ya warm, sweetie. I’ll be right back.” She hurried out of the infirmary and without thought went to their room, his room, that she had been sharing for the better part of a month.
She skidded to a halt in the doorway and glanced in horror at the bed. She’d thought to get their nice, soft, fluffy comforter to warm him but it, and everything else on the bed, was covered in blood. She stood frozen in place for untold minutes before she bolted out of the room, through the galley and to her bunk.
Mal, Inara and Zoe glanced up from the table where they were talking quietly when Kaylee ran by. Mal stood up to follow a few moments later but the little mechanic returned faster than they thought possible, clutching the blanket from her bed tightly in her hands.
The three exchanged a look but it was Inara who followed Kaylee back to the infirmary. The older woman stood and watched as Kaylee carefully and tenderly draped the blanket around Simon, tucking in the edges to keep him as warm as possible.
When Kaylee was done, she sank onto the stool and buried her face in her hands.
Inara hurried to the girl’s side and embraced her wordlessly as the adrenaline pumping through her veins started to wane. Suddenly, Kaylee began to feel the weight of the evening’s events press onto her chest so hard that she could only heave great, huge sobs at the realization of what had happened.
Inara held Kaylee for a long time, the sting of her own tears held at bay only out of intense determination to be strong for her mei mei.
They sat in the galley, Jayne armed to the teeth, Mal and Zoe’s hands not far from their own weapons.
“I told ya she was nuts!” Jayne exclaimed loudly, pacing the length of the galley opposite the storage closet.
“How’s Simon?” Zoe asked Inara, who had just come from the infirmary. “Kaylee?”
“Hurt pretty bad,” Inara exhaled sadly.
“That’s why we’re headed for the first planet with some kind of decent medical facility,” Mal said sharply, his body coiled tight as a snake’s tail.
“Kaylee’s wounds are more superficial but she’s emotionally shattered by this.”
“Ain’t we all,” Jayne mocked, fingering Vera’s trigger.
Inara shot him an annoyed look. “Simon hasn’t woken yet.”
“An’ his little sis just tried to kill them in their own bed,” Jayne griped as stopped and stared at Mal. “Shoulda put a bullet in her brainpan long ago.”
“I’m shocked, Jayne. Was a time you’d not have cared a lick if Simon died,” Mal shot back, his temper frayed.
“Hell, I don’t care none ‘bout that Core bred liumang that brought his crazy sister on board your boat.” Jayne sneered. “He ain’t family. I care ‘bout gettin’ my pi gu handed to me next time crazy wakes up.”
Inara opened her mouth to refute that comment but Jayne continued.
“Lil’ Kaylee, now, she ain’t deservin’ of any of this. That boy done been the cause of her hurt one too many times.”
“And you’re saying Simon and River are deserving?” Inara snapped, finally reaching a place where she could interrupt Jayne’s inconsiderate ramblings. “I would like to hear your reasoning behind that thought.”
Mal leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. “So would I.”
“They ain’t family, Mal. Get ‘em off this boat or little sister is gonna end us all.”
“There had to be a reason for –“
“Who cares!” Jayne spat. “The moonbrain tried to kill her own brother! Damn near succeeded too! Ain’t got no cause to think we ain’t next.”
Mal turned to Zoe, who, up until this point, had been silent on the matter.
“She’s a danger, no doubt.”
“Tell us something we don’t know,” came Jayne’s quick retort.
“Shut up, Jayne.”
“Something set her off. I’m curious as to what. She’s been fine since –“ Zoe hesitated only for a moment, giving respect to those who had died the last time the girl had gone this crazy, “Miranda.”
Jayne gawked at the first mate. “Have you lost what’s left of your bloody mind?” He pointed back to the closed, and locked, storage closet. “You go in there, she’ll end you. Like, I think I’ve said already, she tried to do to her brother.”
“I think it’s best we all learn that safe word,” Mal said, ignoring Jayne’s continued whining. The man had a point, but it was one Mal didn’t want to discuss right now. “Repeat it until you know it. Eta kooram nah smech.” He turned to Jayne. “You don’t have the best memory if I’m recallin’ the Ariel job right. Repeat it.”
Jayne scowled at Mal and attempted to push the foreign sounding words out of his mouth.
As Mal prepared to tell him to repeat them until they rolled off his tongue as easily as the most vile curse, a blood-curdling scream echoed around the room, emanating from the storage closet. It went on and on and on until the sounds of struggling and the hoarse cries died down to a barely audible pitch.
Mal nodded curtly to Zoe and the two of them moved toward the door. Jayne raised Vera and shook his head disapprovingly. “Am usually fond of sayin’ ‘I told you so’ and if you die ‘cause a this, I’m gonna be really mad you ain’t alive to hear me say it.”
Mal didn’t bother to respond, simply approached the door and cautiously reached for the handle. Glancing inside, he saw River lying with her back to the wall, her eyes staring at some invisible thing across from her.
Zoe tightened her grip on her firearm as Mal approached the little killer and knelt beside her, much like Simon had done the first time this had happened.
“River, can you hear me?” He touched her arm and she didn’t flinch, didn’t so much as move a muscle.
“She hears but she doesn’t comprehend,” came the small voice, sounding broken and shattered.
“I think you know what you did, little one.”
River shook her head, tears leaking out of her eyes, and in a small voice whispered, “Wasn’t me.” She stared at some intriguing spot on the wall as Mal slid closer.
“Tell that to Kaylee, little one. She done seen it with her own eyes.”
River’s head snapped up, her eyes feral like a wild animal’s. She tugged sharply at the cuffs binding her arms to the grate and screamed, loud piercing sounds that did nothing to convince them of her proclaimed innocence.
“No! No! No! NO! I didn’t! Couldn’t!” River panted, panic settling in her lungs and making it difficult for her to breathe. “Simon.” The last word was barely a whisper.
With no doctor, Mal didn’t know what to do. None of them did so they just sat and waited for the tantrum to end.
And it did – eventually, with River collapsing dramatically onto the grate, mumbling incoherent phrases which just served to worry the onlookers even more.
After a few more moments, River, in a rare moment of lucidity, lifted her head and pleaded, “Please Captain Daddy.” Her body trembled with the memories of what she had done and she lowered her head to the grate to cover her ears. The pained cries of those she loved most in the ‘verse echoed in her mind and she whimpered, large tears rolling down her cheeks. “I can’t –“ she panted. “I couldn’t –“
An anguished wail burst from her lips and Mal swallowed thickly, his heart pounding with nervousness, fear and pity.
When River lifted her head again, her eyes were even more clear. “Please let me see him. I have to tell him –“ she sobbed, her body continuing to tremble. “I have to –“ She looked at her hands, her eyes widening in horror as she remembered the feeling of the blade sinking into his skin, his warm blood coating her hands. She screamed again, pained, heartbreaking screams that had Inara turning away to hide her own tears. River clawed at her hands, nails digging into the skin hard enough to draw blood. But she was already covered with it, Simon’s and Kaylee’s both, and so couldn’t tell where this new stuff began. “No! Simon no!”
Again, they waited and watched as a myriad of emotions crossed her face. But the most heartbreaking was the desperate look on her face when she lifted her eyes and pleaded with Mal to let her see her brother.
“No, little one, I’m sorry, I can’t allow that.”
“Please, please,” River pleaded, her eyes begging as well as her mouth. “He has to know, he has to –I didn’t mean –“ The words were broken by sobs of regret and guilt as they wracked her body. She collapsed suddenly, body limp on the grating as she whispered, “Kill me. Please.”
Liked it? Hated it? Leave a review and let me know.
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