Birthday - Epilogue
Monday, November 13, 2006

Just a little conclusion, but there will be more as the hangover from the events of BIRTHDAY make themselves known. Feedback, as always ...


Simon crossed the common area to his quarters, glancing back only once. Mal was still standing by Freya’s side as she slept, exchanging some words with Hank on the other bed. Mal was smiling, the first real smile he’d had for days.

Simon looked at his door, but didn’t go in straight away. Instead he slid open the door to River’s room, just checking on her. She was asleep, her arms clutching one of the spare pillows, her face turned towards him. Her mouth was slightly open, and as he watched he saw her lift her hand and slip her thumb between her lips. He smiled a little. She hadn’t sucked her thumb since she was six, but he wasn’t going to say anything, not with what she’d been through.

He’d had to shave a small area of hair at the base of her skull so he could dress the wounds where the tubes had been attached, but it wasn't too noticeable. She’d been much more worried about Freya, refusing to rest until she’d known the older woman wasn't going to die. Even then, it had taken a mild sedative to make her sleep. She’d been afraid she’d dream of Miranda, but Simon assured her that was all gone now. He almost believed it himself. But it would be a while before River was back to normal – well, as normal as she got. He had the feeling, though, that little Bethany was going to have a hand in that.

He closed the door quietly and turned to his own. He admitted a reluctance, no matter what Mal said. He still felt guilty, less than a man, but at least he wasn't running this time. And in there was the mother and child who depended on him.

He slid the door across and peeked in. They were asleep, both of them, Kaylee on the bed and Bethany in the crib next to her. Kaylee must have fallen asleep talking to her daughter, because her hand was off the bed and in the cot, resting against Bethany’s cheek.

Simon swallowed and stepped inside, closing the door behind him to stop any draughts.

He moved closer and looked down at Bethany. At his daughter. She was so small, so beautiful, and it broke his heart to think he hadn’t been there at her birth, hadn’t delivered her himself. He’d so wanted to be, to have been the one to hand her to Kaylee, to see the utter look of adoration on her face. He’d missed so much already, and for that he apologised silently. He’d been stupid enough to think he should leave them both – now he knew he never could.

As quietly as he could he pulled open one of the drawers, reaching in under his shirts and pulling out a small velvet bag. He tipped the contents onto his hand and the light caught on the facets of the tiny bracelet. He'd bought it first planetfall after Kaylee had told him she was pregnant, after he’d managed to make up for being such a fool and before it all went wrong on Tetris. It was just a simple christening band, but he’d had one as a baby, and so had River. Now it was time for Bethany Tam to have one.

Carefully, as gently as he could manage so as not to wake her, he lifted little Bethany’s left hand and slid the adjustable bracelet over her tiny fist. She wrinkled her nose and squeezed her eyes even tighter shut, but she didn’t wake up. He ran a finger very lightly down her cheek, and she smiled in her sleep. He knew babies this young didn’t really smile, but it still warmed him.

He looked at Kaylee, noting the shadows under her eyes. She must have been so worried, wondering if she’d ever see him again, but now she too was smiling. She was so happy, so cheerful most of the time, and he never wanted to make her cry again.

He glanced back towards the infirmary – he was sure the captain wouldn’t mind if he just took five minutes rest. He’d been on his feet for so long, and the bed next to Kaylee looked so comfortable. And Mal had told him he needed to rest.

He slipped off his shoes and, with great care, climbed past Kaylee and lay down, his chest to her back. He put one arm across her, barely resting it on her, not wanting to wake her up. Still, he could feel her heart beating, the smooth, even resonance of her breathing. Suddenly she rolled towards him, throwing her arm around him and holding him tight, still asleep. But her smile grew.

He grasped her tighter, wondering how he could ever have considered leaving. He glanced across at Bethany, wearing his birthday present, and grinned. Just a few minutes, he thought, closing his eyes. Just a few minutes …

He was standing on the edge of a cliff, looking down, clouds and the glint of fast flowing water far beneath him.

“Come on,” laughed River next to him. “It’s easy!”

He smiled at her and stepped from the edge, and flew into the bright future.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006 3:50 AM


Lovely! It was such a nice way to wrap up the 'Birthday' arc.

My one (teensy) quibble, is that in my opinion (but this is your fic, so your rules apply), Simon wouldn't be so quickly over what happened to him. Of course, it's entirely possible I'm being a complete moonbrain and missing something.

All in all, Yay for Jane0904!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 8:14 AM


Wow, love the ending! Very good tale, bautifully told. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 9:01 AM


Don't think Simon's over what happened to him yet, BornToFly...just putting aside the angst for a few to allow himself even a short respite with Kaylee and Bethany;)


Tuesday, November 14, 2006 9:02 AM


Oh...and this was a beautiful ending to this story arc, Jane0904! Definitely loved the little touches like River sucking her thumb for comfort and Kaylee's semi-sprawled posture from comforting her daughter before fallilng asleep;D


Tuesday, November 14, 2006 2:27 PM


Beautifully written and just the right kind of wrap-up. I also don't think Simon's over anything, I think he was just taking those few minutes to be with his wife and daughter. I'm also really glad that realizes now he can't leave them.

And the image of River sucking her thumb was adorable!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 10:34 AM


You are fantastic please keep it up,you are doing what no one else can do.......keeping the verse alive!!!!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011 3:54 PM


He’d been stupid enough to think he should leave them both – now he knew he never could.
AWWWWWWWW<3 best line EVER.


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[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]