To Your Health
Thursday, October 26, 2006

Simon and Zoe have an uncomfortable conversation


It was just a flesh wound; just a strip of scraped-up skin on the top of her shoulder, at the base of her neck, right along the edge of her armor, where a bullet had grazed her. Zoe couldn't imagine why Simon had insisted on checking it daily. Before he'd come aboard, she would have tended to it herself, maybe even without Wash's help; now that Simon was here, it likely wouldn't even scar.

"Looks good," Simon muttered, taping a fresh bandage over the wound. "Healing very nicely."

Zoe pulled her shirt back up over her shoulder when he was finished, and buttoned it. Simon wanted something, she was just sure of it; why else would he insist on checking a scratch like this one every single day? Whatever it was, though, he hadn't nerved himself to bring it up, so Zoe was still coming to the med bay each morning after breakfast so Simon could change the dressing, and still leaving with a fresh dressing and an admonition to come back tomorrow and do it again.

Well, if it were important, he'd get to it eventually.

Zoe stood and took a step toward the door, waiting for Simon's inevitable "Let me take a look at it again tomorrow. All right?"

But Simon didn't say that this time. What he said as she walked toward the door today was, "Zoe."

Well, maybe he'd got that nerve working after all. Zoe turned and leveled her gaze on the doctor.

"Could we . . . talk?" Simon said. "Please, sit down."

Rather than sit, Zoe leaned against the counter top, resting her palms on it and wrapping her fingers over the edge of the counter. She looked at Simon expectantly, curious to discover at last what it was he wanted to say to her.

He drew a deep breath. "You know that, since I'm sort of the de facto ship's doctor, here, I consider it my responsibility to look after the health of the crew. I mean, not just injuries and things, but overall health."

Zoe nodded. "And I'm sure you do a fine job," she offered. Simon seemed mighty nervous, and she wanted to put him just a little at ease so that she wouldn't have to keep coming back to the med bay over a scratch she could deal with on her own.

"Right. Anyway," Simon said, seeming no less uncomfortable. "So, for example, if I take a blood sample from one of us, for whatever reason, I also run some standard screens and things, just to check general health and look for any signs of disease process."

Zoe frowned. Was that what this was about? Simon had done some bloodwork on her, and found something? She steeled herself for bad news.

"Now, Inara . . . she gets this kind of thing taken care of when she has her Companion exams, and Kaylee, well, she doesn't mind letting me take care of her, of course, and River . . . I haven't brought this up with her either, frankly, but I'm going to have to at some point. But the thing is," Simon was rushing through his speech now, finally coming to the point, it seemed, and Zoe had begun to wonder what the bad news was, exactly, "current clinical guidelines recommend that you have a complete gynecological exam every five years."

Zoe blinked. Of all the men in the 'verse, Simon was the last one she would have expected to take her completely off-guard. She stared at him, incredulous. "That's what this is about? You want to get me in the stirrups?"

"What? I -- No! I mean, not exactly, it's not a personal thing, or anyway, it's not that kind of . . ." Simon had turned beet-red to the roots of his hair. He stopped in consternation and collected himself. "What I want is for you to take care of yourself like you should," he said firmly. "And I don't know for sure, but if I had to guess, I'd say your last gyn exam was probably while you were in the army. Which was more than five years ago."

They stood glaring at each other across the small space of Simon's domain, Zoe crossing her arms over her chest and Simon looking stern and helpless by turns. "Listen," he said finally, "If you're uncomfortable with me doing it, which I could completely understand, we'll be in Cicely soon, and there's a doctor there who went to school with me. I know him; I'll vouch for his skills, and you'll probably never have to see his face again. Just, please, you need to get this taken care of."

Zoe drew herself up to her full height and cocked her chin, looking down at the doctor. "Doctor," she said, "I appreciate your concern. But I don't think you need to trouble yourself any more about my reproductive health." She strode out of the med bay, leaving a deflated Simon in her wake.


Alone again in the med bay, Simon slumped. Of all the difficult things he'd learned to do in med school, not one class, not one lab, not one hour of his rotations had prepared him to have that conversation with that woman.

He raised his head and spoke to the empty air: "Who knew medicine would turn out to be such an unrewarding career choice?"

Shaking his head, Simon turned and started cleaning up his work area.


Thursday, October 26, 2006 3:08 AM


This story is the first thing I read this morning. You got me chuckling at 7 AM. Poor Simon. You think he'd have some sort of bedside manner, but aparrantly not.

We need more one-shot stories like this.


Thursday, October 26, 2006 5:15 AM


Heh, nice story! I think the best Simon could do is to round up all the ship's women ('cept Inara) and send them all to a gynecologist when they are in a more or less civilized place. He just won't live it down if he were to do it himself. :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006 7:37 AM


Oh, this was too funny. I could see where Simon would be uncomfortable especially since he sees every one of the women every day.

Thursday, October 26, 2006 8:47 AM


Hey nice Zoe and Simon moment. There aren't too many stories with them. Simon: "This may come as a shock, but I'm actually not very good at talking to girls." Zoe:
Why, is there someone you ARE good at
talking to?" I'm surprised he said anything at all.

Thursday, October 26, 2006 8:49 PM


I agree with reginaroadie we need more of these. You made me laugh in spite of midterms, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Now I'm going to send the link to my bratty little sister as a hint ;)

Saturday, October 28, 2006 8:19 AM


I did enjoy this but am sure whether you are trying to imply that Zoe is pregnant. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, October 28, 2006 9:52 AM


I was wondering that too...Zoe being pregnant. There's no indication of when this one-shot is set (though the comment about how Simon came along, the type of graze she got would have been something she would have handled personally does mention Wash), so it could be after the BDM...and the whole "let me worry about my reproductive system" snipe would be something Zoe could throw out after losing her husband...

Still...this was brilliant in that it shows Simon isn't always Mr. Smooth when doctor-mode;)


Monday, October 30, 2006 12:15 PM


Oh, my, no; I actually wasn't thinking of Zoe being pregnant at all! Or even necessarily of Wash being D&G. But I can see how one might arrive at those conclusions from this.


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The Four Winds, Epilogue
The end...or maybe just another beginning.

The Four Winds, Chapter 25
The rest of the crew return home.

The Four Winds, Chapter 24
Me and Elwood, we're puttin' the band back together.

The Four Winds, Chapter 23
Inara investigates matters; Mal discovers that the impossible has been done in his absence.

The Four Winds, Chapter 22
River needs Mal to solve her problem; Mal is forced to provide information to the Alliance.

The Four Winds, Chapter 21
When Mal tries to recover the cargo, will he lose more than he stands to gain?

The Four Winds, Chapter 20
Mal makes changes to his plan; River puts her plan into action; Inara decides on a plan of her own; Wash finds something he'd lost.

The Four Winds, Chapter 19
Simon gets an alias; Mal gets a look at his client; Wash gets a shock.

The Four Winds, Chapter 18
Our Heroes - and Our Villains - try to figure a way out of the mess they're in.

The Four Winds, Chapter 17
River finds out what's really going on; Simon and Zoe fall into the wrong hands.