The Happy Return
Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Simon's diary, set as a bridge between the scenes of the coda at the end of the movie. Simon struggles with the foot wedged firmly in his mouth, and his own inner troubles, while the crew and the ship heal. Follow-up to "The Syntax of Things". Simon/Kaylee, Simon/Serenity, crew/Serenity


Follow-up to "The Syntax of Things" (

In the grand tradition of title theft, this one originates from the ironically-christened first novel of the Horatio Hornblower series by C. S. Forester. While Forester wouldn't be so optimistic, I like to think of "the happy return" as the shred of hope in a seemingly pyrrhic victory.

This is also my first experience using an online Pinyin translator. I'm very proud of my lu kuai fei shi xi (stupid lump of ape shit).

I'm trying something new and posting this story here before my LJ; it's dedicated to elanor_two, who sent me the Firefly soundtrack as a favor. I appreciate all feedback - please let me know what you think!

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The Happy Return

Serenity Day 2, 2518

I am unaware of this moon’s current calendar date, and I remain unclear on the extent of time I passed in a hospital bed. The crew, struggling with waiting-room hypnosis, appears to be equally vague, so for now, I count my days by my arrival in this ship.

Yesterday I was escorted to Serenity by a nurse and Zoe. Zoe appeared withdrawn, but it early yet to determine if her trauma has left her with any permanent psychological damage. At least I’ve gained some experience in the field over the past year. I chastise myself for not remembering to ask for certain books while in the medical facility. It would have been an excellent opportunity to converse with other professionals on the general subject. I am sure a few of my personal effects are still saleable, and an empathetic intern may have exchanged one of his texts for a discount.

I reread the previous passage and realize with shock that I am thinking like a trader, not a buyer. I have never known an educated man from a Core planet to consider barter as a means to acquire desired materials. I am uncomfortable with the thought that I may become a haggler.

I have seen Kaylee briefly at meals, but have not had a glimpse of her between. Most likely she has a great deal of work to do on the engine; it is understandable if she can’t spare her time. I am still grateful for the kindness she displayed to me in the hospital. I am not sure how to phrase this to her.

The Captain is slated to be released in three more days; Zoe has returned to the hospital to oversee the paperwork and ensure his safe removal. I offered to remain in the facility as a visitor after my own release, to make my knowledge of hospital procedure and bureaucracy useful, but as Acting Captain Zoe has ordered the entire crew, including myself and my sister, to remain on Serenity and begin repairs.

I hardly know what repairs I can make in Serenity without being a burden to those who would have to train me in the physical properties of the ship. I will endeavor to make myself useful, but the pain of my own recovery – a physical agony that is still embarrassingly new to me among this bunch of hard-bitten fighters – continues to handicap any attempts I make at pitching in.

Enough about myself. River has been showing signs of a serious recovery, but I will continue to observe her closely during the following days in case of a relapse. She still indulges in morbid fantasies, frequently manifesting in verbal lists of factual defects or damages to the ship and predictions of the ship’s performance in open space if these defects are left unfixed. While this has made her enormously useful as a diagnostician in coordination with Kaylee’s natural talents, her manner of presentation is nonetheless somewhat disturbing. Somehow I gradually have come to believe she is doing it just to annoy me.

She also displays a disregard for the conventions of privacy and personal space, but on this ship, who doesn’t? She blithely ignores the simplest rules of etiquette in speech, unaware that certain personal details are not appropriate for conversation, but I am unsure how much of this is due to the tampering with her brain or simply a result of her truncated adolescence, the period of time in which we accumulate society’s standards for conduct.

Kaylee, when she spoke to me in the hospital, informed me that River has been a boon to the crew during their distress, stabilizing and comforting them. On board, she continues to be a resourceful and constructive helper, and the physical activity appears to counteract her mental symptoms.

At least one of the Tams is making a difference.

Serenity Day 6, 2518

At last I am able to move about with minimal help, but with the support of a crutch which diverts my standing weight from my abdomen. Thus enabled I have set about in simple tasks aboard ship, starting with the mess and common area, which had remained in a state of complete disarray and dysfunction while repairs buzzed along on more vital parts of the ship.

There to aid me was Inara, who returned two days ago after spending a week away from the crew dealing with the diplomatic end of our – what does one call this event? She paid a call to the Captain but – surprisingly enough – when Zoe was willing to let the Companion remain as a visitor in the hospital, it was the Captain who suggested she return to Serenity to put her possessions in order.

Apparently, there was a lapse in translation between the male and female minds in this instance. Jayne, who was visiting that day and witnessed the conversation, reports bluntly that the Captain told Inara to pack her things and find a more comfortable place to stay. However, to Inara this meant returning to Serenity and making it a more comfortable place. I can’t say I complained when I heard of her return. Already her presence has had a calming influence on the crew’s turbulent emotions of the past week.

On the subject of turbulent emotions, it would now be an appropriate time to mention the reason for the Captain’s delay in returning to the ship. Jayne returned from the previously mentioned visit to the hospital with a swollen cheek and a scowl. He had ventured to the hospital to report on the ship’s progress to Zoe and Mal, but during the course of their discussion Inara’s role in the crew came into question and he construed the Companion’s duties to the Captain in a less-than-truthful fashion. Mal tore his stitches when he rose to strike Jayne and as a result he must remain in the hospital bed for three additional days while they heal.

I understand this is all gossip but it is particularly tantalizing at the moment. Zoe is absent with the Captain, Jayne prefers to work alone when he isn’t being the punching bag of the crew, and my sister has been keeping Kaylee company. Kaylee herself has been hidden in her engine room for days at a time, emerging for meals when she remembers. I don’t wish to bother her or distract her from her work, but often I think about how pleasant it would be to talk with her like we used to. In fact, I miss it very much. I think my true desire is for her to have no work at all, because then I wouldn’t continually question whether I am interfering with it.

The evasiveness of my sister is also aggravating. However, I admit this is a purely selfish reaction. Her cogent moods are persevering, giving me much hope for her mental state. I only wish I could see her more often, but she is as industrious and as hidden as Kaylee.

In a strange way, Inara came to me in at the perfect moment, as if she knew I needed a companion – not with a capital “c” – before I myself knew. I have been uncomfortable and discontented for long enough that I hadn’t realized it was simply from aloneness - until she arrived and set out to help me in my task of making our living spaces more livable. Together we have refurbished the mess and – with the help of River on the wiring – have restored the cook-top and instaheater to working order. We had our first hot meal last night, together over a table clear of debris or work-tools. Kaylee sat next to me.

Today I finish reconstructing the cabinets and lockers while Inara ventures into the outside world to replenish our stock of food staples. It is rewarding to step back and see what we have accomplished together – the invalid doctor and the delicate Companion, ostensibly the two most useless people in terms of physical labor. I’m proud of us, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have happened without Inara’s encouragement and motivation. I’m glad she’s with us again.

Serenity Day 11, 2518

The Captain has returned, in a foul mood at first due to his incapacity to walk unaided. I understand the frustration, but I had a suspicion that any platitudes from me would not do much to cheer him up in that moment. The orderly left him with a crutch for a purpose similar to mine, but he refuses to use it, claiming that the end gets jammed in the grating of the catwalks too easily. Instead, he chooses to haul himself around with the support of the ship’s railings and banisters, and while I would love to protest, Serenity does appear to be the best crutch for him.

Inara and I have patched the bulkheads in the common room and cleared away the debris that still lingered in the darker corners. After an evening of struggling with the built-in bench against the bulkhead, we believe we’ve found a support structure that will allow us to rebuild it despite the new weaknesses in the plating around it. The Captain was more concerned with the repairs that Kaylee and Jayne had completed, but he approved of the situation that allowed us to share hot meals in a space free of pollution and destruction.

Inara shows no signs of leaving, and when asked she dismisses the idea as one would dismiss the idea of giving up and scrapping Serenity. There are days that seem as though the work is insurmountable, but it is Kaylee who keeps us going. It’s as if her energy and optimism flows directly into us, and into our ship.

Tomorrow Inara and I will have the common room complete, if we begin before breakfast. She has offered to continue the patching work into the crew and passenger dorms while Jayne shows me how to patch the heavier plating of the engine room and cargo bay. Kaylee no longer needs parts crane-lifted directly into Serenity’s heart, so we can at last seal the holes that had been temporarily sheltered by tarpaulin and scrap sheet metal. I wonder if she’ll be in there while we work. I hope I don’t drop anything.

The time. I never expect to write for so long in this journal when I begin. I’m exhausted when I take a pen to it, but I feel the urge to scribble pages of nothing. I haven’t mentioned my sister once in this entry. I didn’t catch sight of her until dinner, but she was smiling and Kaylee tweaked her nose.

I think I’ll lay this aside for a few weeks. I think too much about myself when I write in it.

Serenity Day 12, 2518

River is doing fine.

Work in engine room done for me.

I am a stinking lu kuai fei shi xi. That is worth writing down.

Serenity Day 15, 2518

I have attempted to apologize to that woman so many times now that the only solution I can think of is to write the entire episode down see if I can’t find where I went wrong.

When I met Jayne in the engine room, Kaylee wasn’t there. Jayne was curt but he was a straightforward instructor. He didn’t play any games, but he did take great pleasure in letting me know that this job was a “far sight” more vital and important than interior decorating. I declined to respond.

When he understood I wasn’t about to weld my head to the ceiling by accident (he seemed disappointed) he left me to help the Captain with crane direction outside. I spent the morning working alone, in silence, but the change of pace was oddly refreshing – I could barely believe that after complaining for company for so long I was finally ready for a day alone. I can’t help but wonder if Inara volunteered for her separate task for the same reason.

Lunch was just thirty minutes away when my arms became sore from supporting the heavy plates above my head for securing, so I decided to work on some holes I noticed in the ducting as a reprieve. I was sizing up a square of sheeting to cover one gap when I heard a rustling from what I thought was the outside; I lifted down the sheeting and my sister’s face peered at me from the dark mess of wiring.

Understandably, I was a bit taken by surprise.

“Don’t close this one yet,” she told me. “I use it to get to Kaylee.”

I tried to refrain from asking her why she couldn’t use the corridors like a normal person, but then gave in and asked her anyway. What kind of brother would I be if I didn’t? She simply wiggled away. When I turned to lean against the engine casing, Kaylee was standing in the portal to the room.

I was taken aback once more, but this time I was most worried about being caught slacking. Why couldn’t she have walked in when I was doing something – interesting? productive? maybe manly?

I forgot how to say “hello.” It was a new low for me.

She greeted me instead, and asked how I was.

I told her I was feeling much better, and enjoyed the work I could finally do. She complimented Inara’s and my collaborative clean-up in the common area. She said she was glad the couch was back, so we could share it and talk all night, like we did before.

“I’ve barely seen you,” is all I could manage. The way she said “talk all night” made me distinctly flustered.

“I didn’t want to bother you,” she said. “You didn’t look so great when you first came back, and I thought you’d want some real rest instead of bein’ harassed by me at all hours – I was really clingy in the hospital, when I didn’t know what I was doin’…”

“No, I liked it. I mean, I liked having you there. You were – you made me feel better. Thank you.”

She smiled in that way that makes the room a bit warmer and my throat a bit tighter. I thought, for once, I had finally said the right thing. I should have just shut my mouth then.

But I didn’t.

“Inara was an excellent friend when I returned,” I continued. “She kept the project going. I’m glad she was there, but I’m glad I’m finally well enough to do something really useful at last.”

“What you and Inara did was useful,” said Kaylee. She had that tone that I can never decipher until the critical line has been crossed. “She’s still doing it now.”

“Oh, I know that having pleasant living quarters is useful, and she’s the most capable person to make the ship beautiful. I just like knowing that what I’m doing is going to keep the ship in the sky without any trouble.”

“Inara’s keeping Serenity in the sky, too,” said Kaylee. “What she’s doin’ is every bit as important as what you’re doin’. Havin’ a place for us all to collect peacefully is important and I think you knew that since you started the job. An’ I don’t think lazin’ around and chatting with your sis is getting us any closer to airborn, either.”

She stormed away before I could even process what she’d meant. Am I a bad person because the first thing I thought was it would have gone better if I was doing something really impressive-looking when she walked in?

I haven’t caught her alone since that day, and Inara seems disappointed in me as well – I’m afraid she’s heard all about it by now. I’m glad at least the latter woman is still talking to me; she drew me aside today and stroked my shoulder soothingly, and for a second I thought she still felt the camaraderie of our work together before she said to me,

“You have a good heart, Simon. You just need to learn how not to be a boob.”

Serenity Day 18, 2518

Are all the women on this ship determined to drive me to madness?

This morning I could have sworn that Zoe flared her blowtorch in my direction when I hobbled by with a toolbox for Jayne. Every time I try to talk to my sister, she breezes away and tells me she has “important things to do.” Inara still converses with me with the demeanor of a disappointed mother, and Kaylee won’t talk to me at all. I saw her stretched out last evening on the new common room couch, but when I came in and tried to be sociable she turned her face away and wouldn’t make room for me.

Even the Captain seems to have picked up on the negative sentiments, and I had previously thought him oblivious to any nuances of atmosphere more subtle than “comfortable” and “brawl.” When Kaylee refused to sit in the chair I’d pulled out for her at dinner yesterday night, Mal sidled up to me and muttered, “You really screwed up, didn’t ya?”

The “didn’t ya?” had overtones of homicidal intent.

The only crew member I could turn to was Jayne, primarily because his own perception of emotional atmosphere is limited entirely to “brawl.” Because fisticuffs have not yet erupted, he sees nothing different or interesting in the landscape of crew politics and his disdain for me is nothing more than the usual low-grade contempt. I’m nearly at the point of finding it amusing. He also knows where all the hooch is on board.

He has a small bottle of border-planet whiskey with a demon carved into its stopper that is probably fifteen times stronger than Kaylee’s engine-fermented berry wine. He even grudged me a shot or two of it when I assured him I wouldn’t choke.

I only gagged a little.

We sat across from one another at the mess table.

“Wassat bump on your nose?” he asked, jabbing it with a grimy finger. “Looks dumb.”

“I dropped a rivet while I was working on the cargo bay catwalk. Came straight down on me.”

“Looks dumb ‘cause it is dumb. You belong in that dumb little infirm’ry.”

“I can’t begin to assess the damage until River finishes rewiring its systems.”

“So you’re a workin’ man like the rest of us ‘til then, doc.” Jayne guffawed. “Even if you ratchet like a girl.”

I tried to explain to him the particular method I’d worked out that should be more efficient than his technique of manhandling everything until it stayed in place – even if it meant jamming pieces of metal where they shouldn’t fit – but I was finding it increasingly difficult to vocalize my sibilants. Jayne poured us another round of shots.

“At least you’re getting’ some trim,” he scowled, dismissing my ideas.


“You an’ Kaylee. Don’t pretend like I can’t tell you got a thing goin’.” He had an especial tone of disgust.

“Oh, so you picked up on that?” I tried to keep the amazement out of my voice. The man’s ignorance was truly astounding.

“Yeah, I see things.”

“Well, did you see the thing where she’s not talking to me?”

Admittedly, Jayne isn’t the first person I would think to share a discussion of the female mind with. But he was my only option, and you – dear journal – aren’t giving me any ideas. The continual renewal of drinks was making it easier to open up, too. I was loosing count of the rounds as my confusion built up.

“What, you didn’t wait for her to cum first or somethin’?” Jayne probed.

“Not even close. I just – said the wrong thing, but I don’t know what it was.”

“Did you call her ‘River’ in the act?”

I breezed by that last remark, already engrossed in my own story, fortunately for me.

“Ever since I said that what I was doing on the engine room was more important than what Inara was doing on the dorms –” I began.

“Woah there doc,” Jayne cut in. He put his chin to his hand and seemed to be in deep thought for a few moments.

“You know what your fundamental problem is?” he asked me, leaning forward with a wise look on his face like he was doing me the biggest favor of my life by telling me. “Your problem is, you’re a boob.”

“I think I’ve had enough of this,” I said, trying to rise. I was a lot dizzier than I’d expected. I clung to the edge of the table and thought through my next words very carefully. “I. Am. Gonna talk. Talk ta Kaylee.” With that, I left Jayne to contemplate his whiskey demon and uncharacteristically long words alone.

It took me twice as much time as usual, but I dragged myself to Kaylee’s door. The catwalk seemed to shift like sand under my feet, but I twisted my arm over the railings and carried on. Yes, I even slid down her ladder somehow and was back on my feet before she could rise to help me. I’m not sure if she was rising anyway. I lurched forward and touched her hand. Her eyes were wide and puzzled, but more than a little hopeful. They shone, the most lovely eyes in the ‘verse.

“Whatever I said wrong, which I still don’t understand and don’t think I ever will because girls are very strange,” I remember slurring, “I’m sorry.”

At that point, it’s possible that I passed out. I woke up this morning on her floor, with a small quilted cushion under my head and joints so stiff that the pain of bending my elbow to rest it on this desk is only surpassed by the jackhammering in my skull.

Whatever is in that demon-headed bottle is strong. And somehow, inconceivably, the women of Serenity are still united against me, as demonstrated by Zoe’s torch flare this morning and my sister’s continued bratty evasions.

Then again, Zoe seemed to be looking at something inside herself when those sparks lit her face. And my sister – maybe she’s just returning to her own bratty self, God help us.

When I left Kaylee’s dorm, I brushed against that pink monstrosity of a dress she’s so proud of; illogically, it was hanging at the foot of her bunk. Her scent clung to it and for a moment I wondered if I was still drunk.

I want more than anything for her to smile at me again.

Serenity Day 19, 2518

Finally, some light. Nearly enough to see clearly.

I came to offer my help to Inara in the dorms today. After our drunken discussion, I understand the meaning of Jayne’s leering bitterness and for the first time since my initial weeks on the ship a year ago he has succeeded at making me uncomfortable. I’ve relinquished engine-room work to his hands once more, as I don’t want to make Kaylee feel awkward or imposed-upon in her own domain. I’ve done enough of that already.

The edge of Inara’s disapproval has softened and she gives me hope for reconciliation. She took the lead in our repairs, having a better knowledge of what she had already accomplished and what was left to be done. Gently she drew me into an easy conversation, starting with the state of the ship, and then growing to encompass the state of her inhabitants.

“Kaylee’s still upset with you,” she said, but without accusation in her voice.

“I don’t know why. I apologized.” I admit I probably sounded very petulant at that moment.

“A woman needs to hear that you know where you went wrong. An apology should be a promise not to inflict that hurt upon her again.”

“Maybe I did it a little - ungracefully.”

Inara sighed.

“You can’t help it. You’re a boy. To make matters worse, you’re Simon Tam.”

“It’s a serious detriment to efficient communication.”

“You can say that again.”

I sat back heavily on my heels, and decided to tell her the reason behind my mindless remark. She deserved to know.

“I shouldn’t have said that what I was doing was more important than your contribution. I was only jealous. You have a place here, Kaylee has a place here, even Jayne has a vital role, and I’m still…fairly useless. I was just so proud that for a day I could be like the rest of you. That I could be important.” I paused, wondering if I should tell her the rest. Little did I know that I couldn’t have stopped, even had I wanted to.

“I still feel like – like I don’t belong here,” I continued. “I wasn’t close to Wash and I never took the time to know Shepherd Book as more than a convenient sister-sitter. I can’t share your grief in a pure way, in a selfless way, because part of me will always be envious of their roles in this crew, even when they’re gone. And I can’t do anything to replace them or to take the pain away from those who miss them.”

Inara was silent for so long that I was afraid I’d said something wrong again. It was only when her arms were around me and my face was buried in her hair that I noticed the burning in my eyes, the raggedness of my breath.

She held me, and she told me I could have talked to her earlier. Nothing was quite so soothing as those words. Her friendship is a blessing that I wouldn’t have believed possible a year ago when I embarked on my journey.

When I was quiet again, she said to me, “Everyone has a place in Serenity. She collects the souls she needs; you wouldn’t be with her if you didn’t belong. I understand what it’s like to feel lost, but each time you try to withdraw she’ll gather you home before you can stray too far.”

September 1st, 2518 my 20th day aboard Serenity since hospital release

My heart is too full to leave this journal cold today, but I can’t spare much time writing. I believe this is the last entry I need to make – the conclusion of my adventure here. Eventually I will buy a new journal, if I can get a few platinum for my red silk vest on the next moon we see. I only need one pair of shoes and these will last me for another year.

Two hundred pages front-and-back ago, I thought I was making a sacrifice when I only packed three pairs of shoes and one watch. The watch is broken now. I made a mistake in thinking my sister was worth the fortune I lost to fetch her. The fortune was nothing to begin with.

Well, I do miss my watch. And vacations. And regular baths. But I’m having a good day. Today is the first of September, the first autumn month.

I only have two pages left, so I will try to fit it all in.

Last night I was awake very late writing the previous entry. Seeing Inara’s words as I remembered them, writing them again in my own hand etched her thoughts more clearly than ever. I could breathe again, I could see where I went wrong – and the first place where I went wrong was in thinking I had any time to waste before making things right once I had upset them.

I closed this journal and I went to the engine room. If I had been as awful as I was afraid I had been, she would be there rather than her dorm or the common room, tinkering or asleep in the magenta hammock. I imagined her there, her hair feathering over the edge and her fingers curled slightly in sleep. Would I wake her, or would I simply sleep by her side, propped against the bulkhead, waiting for the morning when I would prove to her that I was sincere? Would I touch her slim fingers, or stroke her soft hair?

She wasn’t asleep. When I arrived, the hammock bulged with homeless engine parts and discarded tools, and Kaylee was under the engine and up to her elbows in wiring. I was afraid to disturb her, in case I startled her and caused her to injure herself or the precious machine. Instead I watched, leaning nervously in the portal, fighting my legs to keep them from carrying me away with humiliation.

When she finally withdrew from the engine and saw me, she did look surprised, and I almost believed there was relief in her eyes. The more I looked into them, the less I remembered what I had to say.

“I was talking to Inara this afternoon,” I began. “We were working together. Actually, she was getting the most done.”

“Really?” Kaylee intoned, as if she’s worn herself out of the desire to use planned retorts. It was the tone of defeat – of disillusionment – that made me want to drop to my knees and beg for her to forgive me.

“I haven’t been the best at – considering your needs.” I needed to do this right. It was the most important thing. “At understanding how much pain you’ve carried in the past weeks. I’ve made this time about me when it should have been about you. I wanted to apologize – for what I said, and for what I meant by it. I was stupid, I felt like you didn’t need me, and that tore me up – that I wasn’t needed. And I’m already saying this wrong.”

“You always do,” she said, but her smile was creeping back through a watery tremble.

“I only wish I could take it all back and redo this week like a – like a real gentleman should have. Because the only thing that pains me more than seeing someone else hurt you is knowing that I’ve hurt you myself.”

“Keep going,” Kaylee urged, but I thought I heard playfulness, and she took a step closer to me, swaying her arms so our hands nearly met.

“Let me put it this way. I’m a boob.”

“We already knew that. Didn’t your sister tell you?”

“Frequently. But when Jayne calls you a boob, you know there’s something seriously wrong. I only hope I can – that I can deserve you, deserve a place beside you.”

“I’ve been saving you a seat,” she smiled. Her hands touched mine, captured and held them. Her face was tilted upward and the light sparkled in her eyes like stars that I could swim between. She was waiting, inviting, and I kissed her.

I kissed her. She tasted like – like the Kaylee-scent on her dress and salt and soft. I don’t know how to describe the taste of Kaylee. Her tongue felt like strawberries and sunlight. Her breath on my cheek spelled all the words I could never say to her, never get past my lips because of this crushing awkwardness. Instead I spilled them into her kiss, I drank her, I fit, I was home.

I made love to Kaylee last night. Journal, I’m putting you to rest in the same manner I scattered the engine parts cradled in that hammock, with a rush and a tremble and a confusion of joy. She helped, laughing because we couldn’t tear our lips from each other, stealing kisses and fondles while we whirled around dropping gears and pipes and wrenches onto the deck. When I buried my face in her hair and ran my lips down her throat the scent of her skin filled my head until I thought I would never smell anything else ever again. When I felt her warm hands slip underneath my sweater to ghost along my back, I thought I would go mad from excitement.

I helped her out of her coveralls as gently as I could, but I might have torn off a few buttons. I know my own trousers are beyond repair. When I lay her down in the hammock, she sighed and Serenity sighed with her, the creaking whistle of an old ship in autumn wind. Her legs were soft and strong and they wrapped around my waist like twisting vines.

There was gasping, and every fiber of my body tingled and pulsed. When I was inside her, the only light that existed was the glow of her skin and the shine of her eyes. We were bursting over each other like waves mingling on sand.

The sex was great, too.

After she bit on my ear and moaned my name, after the light became white and blinding and her tightness around me snapped my self-control, after we collapsed trembling on one another, I led her to my dorm. The screens were helter-skelter patched together and the bunk consisted of a padded box on the floor, but it was a box large enough for two. We shed our clothes again, slowly this time to observe every detail of each other’s naked bodies, the slide of muscle and limb, the dance of light over slick skin. This time she sat me down on the bunk, crawled up beside me and curled around me like I was made to be her pillow. I’m starting to believe I was.

“Know what day it is today?” she whispered in my ear. Her warm breath made me shiver with want.


“I heard, from one o’ the crane operators, that today’s gonna be September first.”

“That’s wonderful,” is the only response I could articulate before my mouth was occupied with a creature more spirited than my own words.

You, journal, must have watched us from your corner on my desk.

Or you would have, if books had eyes, or ears, or skin and teeth and fingers and hair as lovely as my bao bei, Kaylee.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006 6:23 PM


That was phenomenal! I always enjoy reading "fill-in-the-blank" stories, and you did a tremendous job with Simon's point of view.

Gorgeous wording, btw. You captured the characters wonderfully.

Two thumbs up!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 6:46 PM


What an enjoyable take on Simon's life and feelings at the end of the movie.

It took me a while to get used to the tense and that he was writing in a journal, but when I did, I found myself really enjoying this a lot!

And I was as confused as Simon with what he'd said wrong to Kaylee. I'm glad you explained it!

The hands down best line in this fic was:

>This time she sat me down on the bunk, crawled up beside me and curled around me like I was made to be her pillow. I’m starting to believe I was.

A Simon pillow. I'll have happy dreams tonight!

This was a great fic and I can't wait to read more from you.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 2:03 AM


I really enjoyed this and it was refreshing to see the nuts and bolts of putting Serenity back together again (including her crew) through Simon's eyes. A unique perspective. So glad he finally took his foot out of his mouth and kissed Kaylee (among other things). Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, August 18, 2006 5:42 PM


"Dear Diary,

Today I got shot by a Reaver and my sister went all postal on them. Then I ended up in an Alliance hospital..."

This totally makes Jayne's comments in "Safe" both even more hilarious and prophetic;)

Still...gotta love Simon's subconscious jealousy and doubt over his role on Serenity. Guess almost dying at the hands of Reavers can't teach you everything:D

Definitely wonderful work, snarkandtea...though I still gotta wonder if it was truly necessary that ALL of the ladies of Serenity were dumping on Simon after his goof with Kaylee. You'd think they would be used to his missteps by now;)


Friday, August 18, 2006 6:25 PM


'Strawberries and sunlight'
Poetic, awesome and sounds just like Kaylee.


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A short ficlet set during the pilot; whatever happens to Simon's red glasses?

Set during the coda of the movie. Mal returns to Serenity after being treated for his wounds in a medacility. It's hard to tell which he's most piqued by - Inara contradicting his orders, or who she's contradicting them with.

The Happy Return
Simon's diary, set as a bridge between the scenes of the coda at the end of the movie. Simon struggles with the foot wedged firmly in his mouth, and his own inner troubles, while the crew and the ship heal. Follow-up to "The Syntax of Things". Simon/Kaylee, Simon/Serenity, crew/Serenity

darkness, light, darkness
A life painted in words. Simon's history flickers in phases like the day coming and going. For the ff_friday prompt "darkness"; title inspired by Jan Svankmajer. Simon/Kaylee

Tooth and Nail
Simon and Jayne have a little altercation over family politics. For ff_friday's 132nd prompt, "animals." Simon/Kaylee and implied Jayne/River.

As A Vision Seem
Tracey goes under: what he sees and what he doesn't see. Is death a moving forward or a moving backward? Written for ff_friday's 131st challenge, "a box".

Kaylee's sweet tooth is infectious. Soon the whole crew will be overdosing on sugar...or something else. Sharing is caring!

The Syntax of Things
The only thing worse than a waiting room is a cold bed. Immediately after the battle on Mr. Universe's moon, the crew wakes up to a different world. Inspired by the e e cummings poem, "since feeling is first". Simon/Kaylee