BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

TAMSIBLING

A NEW DAY, ch. 21: Recurrences
Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Set three months after A NEW BEGINNING. All of Rylee's demons have not been exorcised and Simon feels more guilt than he knows what to do with. S/K, M/I, R/J - Rated light R for adult situations.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1455    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

A/N: There is plenty of angst to be had, my friends. Enjoy!

Thanks to everyone for the great comments and continued support - it's awesome!

And to Leiasky - thank you, danke schoen, de rien, gracias, grazie - and any other expression of gratitude you can think of I pass along to you!

***

A NEW DAY, ch. 21: Recurrences

***

It was very late by the time Simon wearily made it back to the Frye’s. Ascending the stairs slowly, he let out a sigh, feeling his whole body fatiguing under the weight of not only the upcoming move, but his anger at his sister. Rubbing a hand along the back of his neck, he reached the landing and paused for a moment. He was so tired of being anxious and nervous and worried about Rylee or Kaylee or the twins, and truthfully, he was just as tired of being upset and angry at his sister.

Finally making it up to the second floor, he was about to enter his and Kaylee’s room when he decided instead to check on Rylee. Making it down to her door, he pushed it open quietly and peered in, sighing a silent breath of relief as he saw her sleeping peacefully. Glancing to the corner of her room, he also could just make out Ethan and Emma’s small forms, also sound asleep.

Moving into the room, Simon sat gingerly on the edge of his daughter’s bed and found himself staring at her for a long while. Her dark hair was splayed out around her and her hands were curled into fists under her chin. In sleep her cheeks were flushed just a bit, reminding him of Kaylee and he had to smile.

Simon reached out a light hand and ran it through her hair, before leaning down and giving her a gentle kiss to the cheek. Worried he might wake her if he stayed too long, he was almost back out the door when her small voice called to him.

“Daddy?”

Turning, he went back and sat next to her, even as she rolled over and rubbed a hand over her eyes. “Yes, sweetheart,” he whispered, keeping his voice down so as not to wake the twins.

“Don’t be mad at Aunt River.”

Simon’s breath caught in his throat at her words. Placing a hand lightly against her cheek, he furrowed his brow and asked, “What do you mean sweetheart?”

Giving him a look of pure impatience, Rylee said, “I know you’re mad at her, I can tell. And it’s makin’ her really sad.” Taking the hand her father had rested against her face, she held it with her smaller one and said quietly, “It wasn’t her fault, daddy.”

Simon felt his heart pound uncomfortably at her words. He had never, not once, denied his daughter anything and her plea to forgive her aunt almost rendered him completely incapacitated. Leaning down to kiss her forehead, he whispered, “We’ll talk about it in the morning, Ry. Go back to sleep.”

She sighed heavily, knowing a dismissal from her father and rolled back onto her side. As Simon again stood to leave, she called after him, “Don’t be mad.”

Smiling back at her, Simon moved from the room, shutting her door behind him. Once outside, he leaned against the wall, his head falling back and a heavy sigh escaping from his lips. Doing his best to keep his emotions in check, he pressed his thumb and forefinger to the bridge of his nose and took a few deep breaths. Feeling a bit more like himself, he made his way to his bedroom, and was surprised to find Kaylee rising, pulling on her robe.

“Hey,” she said quietly as he entered and closed the door, immediately slipping out of his clothes so that he was just in his underwear.

“Hey,” he answered her, sliding into bed and sighing as his bare legs hit the cool sheets. “Where’re you going?”

“I was just going to go check on the twins,” she told him, reaching back to squeeze his hand.

Keeping a hold of it, Simon told her, “I was just in there with Rylee. They’re fine. Stay.”

Sighing, Kaylee removed her robe and lay back down beside him, her hand against his cheek. Simon held her gaze for a moment and then leaned forward and whispered, “I’m sorry about earlier today.”

“For hittin’ Jayne or tryin’ to order me around?” she asked him teasingly.

Smiling at her, Simon answered, “Both, I guess.” With another sigh, he allowed his gaze to focus on her deep green eyes, amazed once again at the depth of emotion he saw reflected there – her eyes almost always told him everything. And right now, he could see her concern for him and his relationship with River. “I’m trying, Kaylee, really I am.”

Leaning towards him, she pressed a light kiss to his mouth and then said, “I know that, sweetie, I just hate seein’ you so hurt.” Smiling at him, she ran her hand through his hair and smiled even wider as his eyes fluttered shut at her touch. “Our family’s back together Simon, safe and whole. We gotta hold onto that, we gotta remember the good things, while we can.”

Nodding once, he again opened his eyes to her and said, “I know that, and I am so grateful that you and the twins and Rylee are safe. I just … I just can’t forgive River, not yet.”

Knowing she couldn’t really have hoped for more, Kaylee responded, “Well, as long as you ain’t totally discountin’ the possibility that you ever could, I’d say we’re doin’ all right.”

With a smile, Simon wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her to him. “You are amazing,” he whispered, his eyes closing easily as sleep began to claim him. “You always manage to make me feel better. I don’t know how to thank you for that.”

Kissing him, Kaylee brought her mouth to his ear and whispered coyly, “Oh, I’m sure you’ll think o’ somethin’.”

One eye popping open as Simon got her meaning, he asked, “Would you divorce me if I said I needed to sleep a bit first?”

Smiling even wider at him, Kaylee snuggled into his chest and pressed a kiss to his bare skin, right at the base of his neck. “’Course not sweetie,” she told him, her voice husky. “I always want ya well rested.”

With a deep chuckle that vibrated against her lips, Simon placed another kiss into her hair and found he was soon asleep.

***

The countdown to the Tams’ departure was on and each day saw a flurry of activity that often kept Simon and Kaylee busy from dawn till dusk. Even with help from Winnie and Thom, Walt and Marie, Millie and Mal and Inara, the task of getting ready to start a new life, with two newborns and two toddlers was a big one and Simon and Kaylee were growing overwhelmed at the prospect.

Kaylee, having arisen early again, this time to feed the twins as Simon slept in, was in her parent’s kitchen. She had placed Emma in the bassinet they’d moved into the room, electing to feed Ethan first who always fussed the minute his schedule was interrupted. Looking down into his contented face as he sucked away on his bottle, Kaylee didn’t hear River enter the room on her silent feet.

“He’s going to be big and strong.”

Jumping slightly at the unexpected sound, Kaylee jostled the bottle from her son’s mouth and the start of a whine could be heard before she had readjusted it. Once he was again intent on eating, Kaylee turned her head in the direction of her visitor and smiled sadly at River. “What sweetie?”

Her sister had focused her attention to Emma now, and was running a light hand over the girl’s head of curls. Looking up at the sound of Kaylee’s question, River returned her smile and nodded again to Ethan. “He’s going to be strong and tall. Taller than Simon.”

Kaylee smiled even wider at this thought, the idea of their grown son one day towering over her husband filling her with a giddy joy. Looking back into Ethan’s face, she noticed that he had stopped eating and his eyes were fluttering closed as he began to drift off. Looking to River again and then to Emma, Kaylee made a decision.

Turning to her sister, she said, “I’ve gotta feed Emma. Will you hold ‘im for me?”

Her eyes wide, River looked from Kaylee to Ethan and back again. Shaking her head slightly, she murmured, “Simon’ll be mad.”

Frowning slightly at her, Kaylee leaned forward and offered her son to the other woman. “You let me worry ‘bout Simon. They’re my babies too.” Noting River’s continued hesitation, Kaylee added quietly, “You are his aunt an’ I know you ain’t held ‘im yet.”

With a few tears at the corners of her eyes, River bit her lip and then reached out her arms, wrapping them into a cradle so Kaylee could set her now sleeping son’s form in them easily. Transferring him into River’s grasp, Kaylee sat for a minute and blinked back tears as she watched content wash over River’s face. With a happy sigh, she sat and leaned back in the nearest chair, content to stare at her nephew for hours on end.

As Emma began to fuss, her hunger finally getting the better of her, Kaylee hurried to fix the next bottle and then pulled her daughter into her arms, feeding her. Looking back to River, she saw that the girl had lightly laid her head against the top of Ethan’s and was humming a bit to him, her eyes closed, her body swaying gently. Kaylee felt a few more tears come and she had to wonder if her family, her whole family, would ever manage to be one again.

River slowly opened her eyes to her and Kaylee inhaled a bit at getting caught in the middle of a stare. Smiling to her and allowing a few of the tears she’d felt forming to fall, River said quietly, “I think we’ll be okay.”

Cocking an eyebrow to her, Kaylee tried to remember the last time River had spoken with so little certainty; it wasn’t normally the nature of a reader to ‘think’ anything, not when they could ‘know’ everything. “Since when do you ‘think’?”

Getting her meaning, River allowed her smile to grow and shrugged lightly. “Things have been a bit jumbled for me, especially where Simon is concerned.” Looking back down to her nephew, she murmured, “But I have to hope that it’ll be okay.”

Kaylee watched them for a moment more and then, leaning forward a bit, grabbed the woman’s hand and squeezed gently. “I’m sorry, River, I am. I know he hasn’t been fair, but—“

Fixing her with a kind look, River said quickly, “Don’t, Kaylee. I understand. Your loyalty is to your husband and your family. That’s how it should be. I never want to be the cause of stress in your marriage, not again,” she finished quietly, remembering with shame their argument from only a few months ago when Kaylee had accused her of using her relationship with Simon to keep his attention away from his wife and children.

Kaylee’s own cheeks colored at the memory and she sat back again, watching as Emma finished eating and started to drift off. “Yeah, well, I think we can all agree we’ve said some things we surely didn’t mean when we were upset.”

River nodded once, but did not elaborate, in no interest at the moment to list all of the ways in which she had ever been wrong. The two women sat in a companionable silence for a few minutes more before River finally broached the subject she had come to discuss in the first place.

“Kaylee?” Waiting for the woman’s eyes to set on her face, River took a deep breath once she had her attention and continued. “There’s something you should know, about what’s going on with Simon right now.”

Concern having again settled into her features, Kaylee asked breathlessly, “What is it? Is he okay?” She didn’t want to think she had missed her husband in some kind of distress.

Nodding once, River told her evenly, “He is, but most of his anger right now is borne out of fear. Fear and guilt over what happened to Rylee.” Leaning forward, it was her turn to squeeze one of Kaylee’s hands as she added quietly, “He’s afraid he’s failed again. Like with me, he’s afraid that will happen to Rylee.”

Inhaling sharply, Kaylee felt more tears pool in her eyes and she had to blink quickly to clear them. “Why wouldn’t he tell me?” she breathed, her heart swelling with concern for her husband.

Frowning at her, River knew Kaylee wasn’t that dense, especially not when it came to Simon. “You know why.” When Kaylee again brought wide eyes up to regard her, River said, “He’s afraid that if he tells you, you’ll realize it is his fault, that you’ll blame him too and he can’t take that, ever. He knows he can’t lose you, knows he won’t survive it.”

The tears Kaylee had been trying so vainly to hold in, fell steadily now as her heart continued to break for Simon’s fear and insecurity. Of course, what made it worse was the memory of their fight during Rylee’s abduction, when she had, in no uncertain terms, accused Simon and his messed up family for everything bad that had ever happened to them. But she had been wrong, she knew that now, had known it almost the minute the words were out – bad things happened, it was unfortunately the nature of the ‘verse and the only thing that had ever seen her through was Simon’s love for her and hers for him.

“What can I do?” she asked, her voice broken by tears.

Smiling at her through tears of her own, River said simply, “You’ve been doing it. If you can, try to get him to open up.” As Kaylee frowned at her, River said quickly, “And yes, I do realize how difficult that is.”

Kaylee smiled through her tears at the girl and then asked the question she had to have an answer to. “Will it be okay?”

Glancing down at Ethan, River told her quietly, “I’m not really sure, it’s hard for me to see.” Looking back to Kaylee’s fear stricken face, she added, “But I think it can be. I think we all just need to remember what’s truly important. We can find our way through.”

Kaylee again blinked back tears and then the women resumed their quiet sitting. After a few more moments, River moved to lay Ethan in the bassinet, feeling Simon stirring and knowing he wasn’t quite ready for her to be so close to his children. Placing a kiss to the little boy’s forehead, River moved and did the same for Emma, before kissing Kaylee on the cheek.

Reaching into her pocket, she handed Kaylee a letter and told her, “Jayne and I are going to leave in a few days, before you and Simon.” Kaylee’s eyes filled again, but she did not voice the protest that rose to her lips, guessing there was nothing she could say to change the girl’s mind.

Encouraging Kaylee to take the folded piece of paper, she said, “Give this to Simon, when you think he’s ready.” As Kaylee’s eyes looked to the letter and then back to River, her sister saw the question there and told her, “You’ll know when, don’t worry.”

Moving to leave, Kaylee stopped her as she placed a hand to the door. “Please come and say goodbye to Rylee and Danny before you go. Both of you.”

Looking back to her, River nodded once and then was gone, Simon entering the kitchen just minutes after she’d left. Greeting his wife and the twins with kisses, he noted the few tears in Kaylee’s eyes and asked concernedly, “Kaylee, are you all right?”

Blinking them away quickly, Kaylee smiled to him, a huge, bright grin, and answered, “Shiny,” before shifting Emma up and onto her shoulder to burp her.

***

3 Months Later

***

River sneaked a peek around her latest hideout and drew her head back quickly, cursing silently under her breath. The three Alliance agents she had been trying to avoid for almost the entire day were still there, having tracked her to this latest dingy establishment and deciding to maintain a position near the only entrance or exit.

Her eyes quickly scanning the edges of the room for about the hundredth time, she again came up with no other escape route but the door they were currently flanking. Taking a deep breath and allowing her mind to calm, she could feel their anxiety and their glee at the thought of catching such a wanted criminal. River had known it would be a risk for she and Jayne to spend so much time in Capitol City, but they had managed to fly under the radar for quite some time, almost three months. It had only been very recently, when they had unknowingly tripped some watchdog programs within the Alliance’s security grid that anyone had even been savvy to their presence.

Her thoughts drifting to Jayne for just a moment, River was thankful that she had insisted they split up. Should she be caught, he didn’t need to go down with her – of course, she had no intention of being caught, but still, she had to plan for the worst contingency; it was, after all, what had kept them alive this long.

Determining that the only way out was to blast her way out, River gripped the butt of her hold-out blaster just a bit tighter and was readying to reveal herself, when the distant sound of gunfire and shouting could be heard. Risking another look, she watched as the three soldiers glanced nervously out the door, their attention obviously drawn away by the commotion. Grinning tightly, River had the very distinct impression that Jayne was behind the diversion, but with no time to dwell, River took her opening, sliding out of her hiding spot and hurrying for the door.

As one of the guards turned back to regard the bar, River paused, sidling up behind a few patrons who were also making their way towards the entrance to investigate all the ruckus. Moving in step behind them, River was to the door and out in Capitol City’s cool night before the guards had even thought to use the incident to their advantage as well, hoping to catch their prey off guard.

Smiling tightly, River worked her way through the crowd, moving against the flow of people crushing forward to listen to the sounds of the fight that was quickly dying away. Twenty minutes later she was again hugging the shadows of an abandoned building in one of Capitol City’s blackout zones as another squad of troops, this a typical peacekeeping patrol marched by. Knowing she could not be seen, she melted within the darkness and waited another moment as they passed and was about to again move when a hand caught her arm.

Turning suddenly at the touch, she gasped as her heart raced and then immediately slowed as her eyes alit on Jayne’s grinning face. Pulling her close to him, he whispered, “Hiya baby girl. Did you like the fireworks?”

Smiling at him, River pressed a light kiss to his mouth and told him, “You definitely know how to show a girl a good time.”

Chuckling lightly, they both moved out of the shadows and took the long, circuitous route back to their meager apartment. It was, by far, not in the safest part of the city, but the location kept it away from the prying eyes of Osiris’ elite, including most of the Alliance brass, providing River and Jayne with the freedom of movement they needed.

Of course, now that they had tipped off the Alliance to their presence, freedom was something in short supply. As River entered the room and dropped her gun belt to the table, she stretched her arms over her head, trying to release the tension that had been building in her shoulders over the past few days. It had been a stupid move and if beating herself up over it could have fixed it, they would certainly be in the clear by now.

River had known she was close, close to what exactly she wasn’t sure, but she knew there was something there. It had taken them the better part of the three months they’d been planetside to even know where to look and as hacking was not one of River’s many talents, the process to uncover the information was slow and arduous. Finding and exploiting their contacts to the point of dangerous, River knew that if she and Jayne did not find a way to get to the antidote soon, they would be forced to leave without, and she wasn’t prepared for that.

Still stretching, River’s arms dropped back to her sides immediately as Jayne’s big, warm hands began to knead at her shoulders. With a contented sigh, River’s eyes closed against the feeling, her head falling back against his chest, as he worked her muscles. Pressing a kiss to her temple, Jayne continued to move his fingers with more deftness than River remembered. “Better,” he finally asked in a low voice, his breath hot against her ear.

“Hmmm,” was the only sound River could get out as his touch relaxed her to a point beyond speech.

Kissing her quickly again, Jayne turned her in his arms and cupped her face in his hands. “That was close t’night,” he confided, his blue eyes studying her face intently.

Blinking her eyes open, she allowed the smallest smile to turn up the corners of her mouth while she worked her arms up his chest and around his neck. “Not that close,” she teased, reaching up and playfully nibbling at the flesh of his neck. “I knew you’d come for me.”

Moaning softly as she worked her tongue and lips up his neck and to his ear, Jayne pressed her tight against him, and dropped his head to her shoulder, kissing her soft skin ardently in return. “Yeah, well, it’s the last time I’m lettin’ you wander off alone,” he murmured, his lips tickling her skin.

Laughing lightly at him, River did not answer him, but continued to nip at his skin, tasting the sweat that had dried there from the heat of the day mixed with his already intoxicating scent. Pulling back from him a bit, River met his desire-filled eyes, and then, using his shoulders for purchase, hopped up a bit, catching her legs around his waist, even as he cupped her backside to keep her steady against him. “Time for you to relax, Jayne,” she whispered hotly against his ear, even as she began to kiss him more urgently.

Groaning as her touch caused his pants to suddenly feel very uncomfortable, Jayne did not argue, but simply backed them towards the bed, finding it very easy to relax in his wife’s warm and supple embrace.

***

Hours later, Jayne awoke to an empty bed and grumbled at the coldness. Rolling over onto his belly, he saw River, sitting naked in front of the cortex terminal, her face illuminated by the reds and blues playing across the screen. Immediately aroused again at her perfect form, Jayne propped himself up on one elbow and asked, “What’re you doin’?”

Not turning to face him, she said quietly, “I had an idea.”

Reaching for her, as the room was not that big, Jayne’s fingers ghosted over her arm as he told her huskily, “Yeah, well, it’ll keep till mornin’. Come back to bed.”

Finally looking at him with a patient look, she wiggled her eyebrows and murmured, “Impatient, aren’t we?”

This time his hand actually did close around her arm as he smiled broadly at her. “I’m just makin’ up for lost time,” he told her coyly, scooting down the bed, so he was now sitting behind her. Wrapping his arms around her waist, she gasped a bit as one hand moved up to cup her breast, while the other moved lower to tease her, even as his lips again kissed the flesh at the crook of her neck.

Her head falling back against him of its own volition, she told him, “I really need to finish this.”

“So do I,” he murmured, increasing the pressure of his fingers against her and getting another aroused gasp in return. His lips smiling against her skin, he pulled her back and off the stool against him. River turned in his arms as he laid back on the bed, hovering over him and looking into his blue, blue eyes. With a smile of her own, River lowered her mouth slowly to his and captured his lips in a long, passionate kiss before she allowed him to love her again.

***

It was dark and very cold. With a shiver, Rylee looked around the room she was stuck in, trying to find something familiar, trying to find a way out, but she couldn’t.

With a whimper, she ran her hands against the cold metal walls and sank down to the floor with her head buried against her knees, large, hot tears running down her face.

“Rylee? Come home, baby.”

Looking up she saw her mother standing over her, smiling, but Rylee knew she couldn’t be real. Shaking her head violently at her, Rylee whispered, “No,” even as her father emerged from another shadow, his hand outstretched, his face beaming. “Come on, Rylee, we miss you. Come with us.”

“No, no, no.”

Rylee’s voice was soft, but growing in pitch and intensity as she began to thrash about in the grips of her nightmare. With sweat pouring off her face and plastering her hair and pajamas to her skin, she tossed and turned, soon entangling herself in her sheets.

“Rylee, please come with us.” Her mother was begging, leaning down and wrapping a hand around her arm, trying to pull her to her feet. Her father moved to the other side, getting her other arm and together her parents hauled her up.

“No!” She screamed loud this time, still thrashing about. “Let me go!” Unable to extricate herself from her bed, Rylee’s panic increased as her mind refused to let her wake, her heart rate and breathing spiraling out of control as the dream continued to torment her.

“No!” This scream awakened both Emma and Ethan, their wails joining hers, just as Simon and Kaylee both rushed into the room. With the comm at their bedside to hear for any noises coming from the twins, they had heard Rylee’s anguished cries and come running.

Now as Kaylee rushed towards the babies, hoping to calm them and get them back to sleep quickly, Simon sat on the edge of Rylee’s bed. His hands falling to her shoulders, he noticed her distressed state with a wave of familiarity – this was often how he had once found River. Shaking her a bit, he called to her, “Rylee, sweetheart, it’s okay. Wake up.”

Still turning about, Rylee was continuing to mumble in her sleep, her tears falling steadily down her face. “Get away,” she was muttering, her voice broken with sobs. “You’re not real, you’re not them.”

“Rylee,” Simon said urgently, hoping to reach her. Finally, unable to stand her pain a moment longer, he pulled her to his chest, even as she fought against him, throwing all of her weight away from him. Hauling her to him, Simon encased her trembling form in his arms, whispering into her hair and trying to soothe her. “You’re okay, Ry, it’s okay, just wake up.”

With a start, she finally did, her room coming into focus slowly. Her face buried against her father, Rylee’s breathing was still ragged as she tried to differentiate reality from her nightmare. As Simon cradled her to him and continued to whisper to her, she continued to cry and finally pulled back a bit to look in his face.

Reaching up and placing a light hand to his cheek, she asked in a whisper, “Daddy?”

Kissing her forehead, Simon pushed her hair back from her face, and said, “Yes, sweetheart, I’m here. You’re okay, you just had a bad dream.”

Nodding once, Rylee’s eyes again welled with tears and she fell against him sobbing. Kaylee joined them now, having gotten the twins back to sleep. Crawling onto the bed from the opposite side, she moved up next to Simon and placed her hand against the back of Rylee’s head, even as her own eyes filled with tears.

Looking up at the light touch, Rylee reached for her, murmuring, “Mama.”

Taking her, Kaylee hugged the girl tight to her chest, while Simon rubbed her back lightly. Meeting Kaylee’s concerned gaze over their daughter’s head, Simon could only nod once at his wife, trying to reassure her, but having no way to make any guarantees. Placing a kiss to her cheek, Simon watched mother and daughter for a moment.

This was by far the worst nightmare Rylee had had since she’d been home, and the fact that it was happening now, after she’d been back for a little over three months concerned him. Of course, there was no hard and fast timeframe for recovering from such physical and psychological trauma, but still, Simon did not like the timing, nor the state in which they’d found her.

Still unable to catch her breath, Rylee continued to cry against Kaylee and Simon finally decided he couldn’t take it anymore. Getting up, he left and returned quickly, brandishing a needle and a vial of some medication. Kaylee was still trying to calm down their daughter, rocking her gently as that had always worked in the past.

Filling the needle with the smoother, Simon took his daughter’s arm and was about to inject her with the sleep medication when she jerked away from him violently. Surprised by her reaction, Simon looked to her and saw that while her eyes still held tears, they were no longer sad, but angry. Reaching out, he tried to place a hand against her cheek, but she wrenched away from him, going so far as to crawl out of Kaylee’s grasp and cower against the head of her bed.

Both parents exchanged fearful looks but it was Simon who spoke to the frightened child first. “Rylee, sweetheart, what’s the matter?”

Unable to answer, Rylee allowed her eyes to dart to the needle he held and then back to his face. Looking to it himself, Simon smiled slightly and told her, “Sweetheart, it’s just to help you sleep, that’s all, without the nightmares. Isn’t that what you want?”

Shaking her head violently, Rylee whispered vehemently, “That’s what they said. That’s what they did. Stuck me with needles.”

His own eyes welling with tears he tried to hide, Simon feared what this could mean. She needed to sleep, she needed to calm down and Simon knew that at this point, giving her something was probably the only way for that to happen. Looking to Kaylee for help, his wife inched closer to their daughter and said, “Sweetie, your daddy only wants to help you. We only wanna help.” Reaching out a hand to her, Kaylee asked, “Won’t you let us?”

Slapping at her mother’s hand, Rylee told her harshly, “No,” her eyes still blazing with anger.

Shocked by her reaction, Kaylee’s tears again fell down her face as she sat back on her heels, unable to do anything, but stare at their daughter.

Simon, not at all liking where this whole night was going, edged closer to her and said, “Rylee, you are not to hit your mother, ever. Do you understand me?”

Holding his gaze, Rylee nodded once to him, and then looked back to her mother, instantly regretting her reaction. She was only trying to help her, while her father was trying to fix her. Rylee didn’t need to be fixed, she needed to be loved and while her four-year-old mind knew that, she didn’t know how to tell him. Crawling back to her mother’s lap, Rylee whispered, “I’m sorry, mama.”

“It’s okay, baby,” Kaylee said, again wrapping her up in an embrace. “It’s okay.”

Rylee began to cry again, big, heavy tears, her breathing again becoming erratic and Simon could only watch his daughter’s suffering for a few more moments. Reaching for her arm, he held it tight even as she fought him, and injected the smoother into her bloodstream. With tears running down her face, Rylee looked back to him and whispered, “You’re just like them,” before sleep quickly claimed her.

Swallowing hard past the lump in his throat, Simon could not stay in the room a minute more, his guilt at his actions and his hurt over Rylee’s words cutting him deep. Leaving Kaylee to tuck her in, he wandered back to their room and sat heavily on the edge of the bed, his head falling into his hands.

This was how Kaylee found him thirty minutes later, after she had been certain Rylee was out for the night. Rounding the bed, she sat beside him with fresh tears in her eyes and wrapped an arm around his shoulders, pulling his head to her chest, and rocking him just as she had rocked Rylee.

With a heavy sigh, he murmured, “What have I done?”

“She was just confused, sweetie,” Kaylee whispered back. “Confused and scared, she didn’t mean it.”

Pulling away from her, the sorrow on Simon’s face caused Kaylee’s heart to pound uncomfortably against her rib cage. Caressing his face with her hands, Kaylee brought their foreheads together and whispered, “Everythin’ll look better in the mornin’.”

Wishing he could believe that, Simon told her, “I don’t want to hurt her. I just want to help her.”

Swallowing to find her voice, Kaylee told him, “I know that, Simon and so does she. We just gotta be patient with her is all.”

Nodding once, Simon could not talk on it any further as he felt his throat constrict painfully as he tried to hold back his tears. Noting his distress, Kaylee again pulled him tight to her, and although he didn’t want to, although he tried not to, he held her back just as tightly and cried.

***

COMMENTS

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 5:01 PM

ECAMBER


Yay, first to comment.

I've avoided commenting on the last few chapters for two reasons. 1) I wasn't entirely sober and 2) I was really, REALLY pissed off. Simon has been such an asshat towards River that I just couldn't trust myself to respond.

Honestly, with all the heartache and trouble he and Kaylee are facing, it's nice to see him finally back on familiar ground - struggling with a loved one who was traumatized instead of traumatizing a loved one (no matter how his justifications work).

River is my soft spot, she deserves so much more than she's gotten and it's driven me nuts that she keeps getting within touching of what she deserves (like a baby and real joy and happiness) only to get it ripped away. Good for her and Jayne to go after it, balls to the wall! And I can so see them both working together like you wrote. Shadowy, clandestine locations, using all their abilities... it's downright yummy!

My only curiosity is with Jayne and River doing their thing, and Simon and Kaylee doing there thing... that leaves literally only Mal and Inara on Serenity (assuming that Zoe is staying planetbound). Even with Zoe, no mechanic, no medic... how is Serenity faring?

Yay for this chapter... can't wait for the next!

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 5:04 PM

TRESTA


I think you're doing a good job of showing the kinds of reactions a traumatized child would exhibit.

Particularly Rylee's reaction to needles; of course they're going to terrify her, possibly for her whole life. I was wondering what what happen the first time she needed medical treatment of some kind- would she freak?

I think you nailed her reaction.

It is really a shame that Simon is the only doctor they all have access to right now. As good as he is, with all of Rylee's issues she really needs someone else to attend to her medically, so that Simon can just be her Daddy. She is still very young, and it seems natural that she would group Simon in her mind with the bad guys when he starts reacting as her doctor.

I feel terrible for him; it certainly isn't his fault. He did what in his medical judgement was necessary. But I think it brings home that maybe Rylee wasn't entirely ready to come home yet. Or, ideally, she's home but she is still getting therapy of some kind.

This is another reason that the Tam's move to Aberdeen may be a good idea. I'm hopeful that there will be help there for Rylee.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 7:34 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Third in line ain't bad, I gotta say;)

Definitely loving the Rayne covert ops scenes you threw down here, TS. Especially the moments where we get even vague descriptions of their intimate moments...just to show they are still "into" one another after all that's happened;D

Really got a mighty bad feeling about Rylee's dreams, honestly. It's been more than 5 years since River was in the Academy, so I wouldn't doubt the HoBs have improved their subliminal conditioning techniques...and I get the notion Rylee got a nice dose of them when in captivity:(

BEB

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 7:34 PM

LEIASKY


I love that Kaylee, naturally, is able to put her anger at River aside and be her sister. I loved their conversation.

River and Jayne still squicks me big time. I just can't see those two together, but you've done a good job of making their relationship believable and growing it slowly over three very LONG stories.

Rylee and the needles just breaks my heart. She needs 'daddy' and not 'doctor' more now that she's home. And poor Simon and his family is still suffering, three months later.

Thursday, October 5, 2006 1:33 AM

AMDOBELL


I don't agree with Simon and Kaylee cutting themselves off from everyone in moving to Aberdeen, as if they can leave the things that hurt them behind them by jettisoning those they love as if the two are some kind of package deal. A short stay away may be a good thing but prolonging it will make it harder to mend fences later. Also, the family and crew are their support mechanism, their touchstone to the real world with all of its' inherent flaws. The only ones to try to build a better world were the gorram Alliance and look how well that turned out? Loved Kaylee reaching out to River, wish Simon would do the same. Trying to apportion blame won't solve anything just make more problems and heartache to come. Not sure what Mal and Inara are doing with a ship and no crew and what about Zoe? Are we going to see what is happening to them? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, October 5, 2006 4:31 AM

BLACKBEANIE


Sad chapter.
Why must you brake my heart!?

Thursday, October 5, 2006 6:16 AM

RIVERISMYGODDESS


I do think it is a bit unfair that there is so much pressure on Simon to forgive River, seeing as he predicted what would happen if she persisted and none of the people who are Readers saw it coming. Kind of ironic. Not that I think that he won't eventually do it, knowing how these things usually go, but it seems a bit one-sided at this point.

Yay for River finally getting to hold the baby.

“You’re just like them,”
~ That's more'n a little chilling


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