Communication - Part V
Friday, March 9, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. 2BF. Simon collapses ... this is a long section, and there may not be any over this weekend, so enjoy! And please, comment/rate.


“Whoa, there,” Mal said, holding the young doctor up. “Let’s get you into the infirmary.”

“What … Simon, what is it?” Kaylee’s anger had turned to utter concern.

“I'm okay.” He tried to smile for her as Mal helped him through the common area. “Just feeling a little weak.”

“Oh, Simon.” She opened the infirmary door and the captain half carried him to the medbed.

“What do I do?” he asked.


Mal nodded, fixing the various bits of equipment to Simon’s finger, his chest. Kaylee held his other hand.

“Honey?” she said, trying not to cry.

“It’s okay,” Simon assured her. “I think it’s just … I haven’t eaten today, and what with the nausea …” He glanced at the screen, and released the breath he’d been holding. “It’s okay.”

“You ain’t having a heart attack?” Mal asked.

“It appears not.”

“Shiny.” He stepped closer. “Now, do you think you could enlighten me as to why you’re taking poison?”

“It’s not poison.”

“Kaylee said –“

“Kaylee over-reacted.”

“I did not!” The young mechanic was outraged.

“It’s not poison,” Simon said again. “It just has a few … unfortunate side effects.”

“Yeah, like a heart attack, stroke, and –“

“Kaylee, please.” He put his head back on the bed.

“I think you need to be a bit more specific here,” Mal said. “What drug?”

“I picked up an infection on Corvus. At least, I presume it was there. It causes … well, sterility.”

“Infection?” Mal’s thoughts immediately went to the rest of the crew, his wife, his son.

“It’s all right. I haven’t passed it on to anyone. The infection is gone, although the effects do seem to linger.”

“Sterility. That’s why Kaylee ain't getting pregnant.”

“That’s right.” Simon closed his eyes. “There is a treatment, but it has a few side effects.”

“And you didn’t discuss this with Kaylee before you started dosing yourself up?”

“No, he didn’t,” the woman in question said.

“Can’t help feeling you might have made something of a mistake there, doc,” Mal said, shaking his head.

“It seems so.”

“So now what? You stop taking it?”

“I can’t. But the dosage decreases over the next few weeks, and the symptoms will subside.”

“How bad?”

Simon knew what he meant. He opened his eyes and looked into Mal’s, seeing only concern there. “Pretty bad.”

“Any guarantees this’ll work at the end?”

Glancing at his wife he debated whether it was worth lying. “No more than 60 percent.” He could see Kaylee biting her lip.

“Good job you told the truth, Simon,” Mal said gently. “You’ve got a terrible poker face.”

“Is that how come I keep losing to Jayne?” Simon joked feebly.

“Doc, you keep losing to me. Which is worse.”

“60 percent?” Kaylee said, gripping his hand. “You’re going through all this for 60 percent?”

Bao bei, we’ll just have to try harder,” Simon said, smiling at her.

“You shoulda told me, too,” Mal said, crossing his arms. “Least we could’ve been ready for this.”

The young man glared at him as much as he could. “I didn’t exactly plan on nearly fainting in your arms.”

Mal tried, successfully, not to smile. “That’s as may be, but you still should’ve warned us. What if you’d collapsed outside? On the street? We don’t know the Alliance ain't still looking for you.”

“They are,” River said from the doorway, standing next to Freya. “I’m not sure they’re ever going to stop.”

“He’s okay,” Mal said quickly.

“Oh, I know.” She certainly didn’t look too perturbed.

“Where’s Bethany?” Freya asked, looking down for the little girl.

“Hank’s entertaining her in the cargo bay. I thought it better for her not to see her father like this.”

“And Ethan?”

“Zoe. Same place.” River was regarding her brother. “You’re a boob, you know that, don’t you?”

“You’re my sister – you’re supposed to be supporting me.”

“Not when you’re a boob.”

“Well, now, I’d say it doesn’t matter that much if Simon’s a boob or not,” Mal put in, feeling odd saying the word himself. “Which, I figure, is something of a foregone conclusion. But I also figure he needs to rest some.” He looked down at the young man. “Right?”

”I think that would probably be a good idea.”

“Shiny.” Mal glanced up at Kaylee. “Don’t you think it’d be a good idea if you got him something to eat?”

“Ooh, yes.” She nodded enthusiastically. “I can make some soup.” She ran out of the infirmary and they heard her going up the stairs.

“Fine.” Mal nodded. “And everybody else can just leave too.”

“I was going anyway,” River said. “Jethro’s back.” Her brows lifted. “With Jayne.” She slipped back towards the cargo bay.

“Jayne and Jethro? Together?” Simon said, attempting to sit up. “I think perhaps I’d better –“

“You ain't going anywhere, doc. Not till you and me have had a little chat.”

“If they start killing each other –“

“Then we’ll clear up the entrails later.”

Freya smiled then turned back. “Do you want me to go keep an eye on them?”

“Just for a while.”

“As long as there isn’t entrails.”

“Thanks.” Mal smiled at his wife, waited for her to make her awkward way up the steps, then turned back to the man on the bed. “Right. Now you can tell me the truth.”

“Truth?” Simon stared at him. “I thought you said I had a terrible poker face.”

“You do. Which is how come I know there’s more to this than meets the eye.” He let a beat go by. “So just how dangerous is this treatment?”

Simon closed his eyes again. “Kaylee’s right. She shouldn’t have looked it up, not without me to explain things, but she’s right.” He sighed.

“Tell me.”

As Simon went over the possible problems, Mal’s face tightened.

“… but it’ll be worth it.”

“Worth dying for.”

“That’s not exactly the outcome I’d planned on.”

“No. Seems to me you ain't exactly planned this at all.”

“Oh, I did,” Simon protested. “I knew what I was letting myself in for, Mal. But Kaylee’s my wife. And if I can give her the baby she wants, the baby she needs, then I’ll do it.” He paused. “You’d do it for Freya.”

“That’s low, doc,” Mal warned.

“Maybe. But it’s true.”

“River’s right.”

Simon allowed a hollow laugh to escape. “Perhaps. But I walked into this with my eyes wide open.”

“Except for the part where you didn’t reckon on Kaylee being anxious and doing a little research of her own.”

“No, well, that part I didn’t quite foresee.”

Mal leaned on the edge of the bed. “So now what? Can you tail this stuff off any quicker?”

“I … maybe. But it won’t be effective –“

“Doc, I think you’ve got to make a choice here. This is gonna kill you. No if’s or but’s about it. You might be strong now, but what I just saw …”

“Kaylee –“

“Kaylee doesn’t want you dead. If you don’t have any more kids, she’s not going to hold it against you. Not now.”

Simon stared. “Captain, this isn’t something you can order me to do. Not even on your boat.”

“Try me.”

The young doctor wanted to argue, wanted to say it was his decision, not Mal’s, but he knew in his heart the captain was right. He looked into Mal’s face. “This was a warning,“ he admitted. “I didn’t say anything to Kaylee but the tachycardia was just a little high –“

“Tachy …”

“My heart was racing,” the young doctor explained. “Too fast.”

“And if it had kept on? Or got worse?”

“Well, you’d either have had to call an ambulance or an undertaker.”

“Except for the fact that you’re sick I truly admit that I’d take you outside and beat the crap out of you,” Mal said in frustration.

“Good job I'm sick, then.”

“She’s not stupid, Simon.” Mal put his hand on his shoulder. “She knows just how this could have gone.”

“I know,” Simon admitted quietly.

“Tail it off. Now. Fast as you can. And you don’t leave the ship. Not for anything. Not ‘til you can put your hand on your tachy-whatsit heart and tell me you ain't in any more danger, dong mah?”

Simon nodded. “I understand.”

“Good.” Mal shook his head. “Love’s a bitch, ain't it?” he added.

“That it is.”


“How did it go?” Zoe asked Freya as she prepared the evening meal.

“Good.” Freya watched as the first mate dumped the carrots into the pot. “Don’t you think they’re a bit big?”

“They’ll be fine. Good to have some fresh vegetables for a change.”

“One of the perks of being on a Core planet. Doesn’t mean they cost less though.”

Zoe laughed. “No.” She turned her head. “So how good? On a scale of, say, one to ten.”

“The carrots?”

“The counselling.”

Freya leaned against the counter, letting her legs take most of her weight, still trying to get used to it. “About … three and a half.”


“And a half.”

“That good.”

“It was hard, Zoe,” Freya admitted. “The things I needed to say, I really didn’t want to. But I knew … I know I have to.”

“You’re going back?”

“Tomorrow. She wants to see us both several more times.”

“For how long?”

Freya sighed. “If we had the coin I think she’d like to make it a year.”

Zoe turned to stare at her. “You’re that sick?”

Now her friend laughed. “Not me.”

“Oh. Well, I can believe it of Mal.”

They both laughed.

“Can I help?” Jethro asked, stepping down into the galley.

“No, we got this,” Zoe said.

“Please. I’d like something to do.”

“I guess you can chop the onions if you like.” Zoe indicated some large specimens on the board.

“Fine.” He picked up a knife and began to peel them.

“You okay?” Zoe asked, glancing at Freya, who also had a quizzical look on her face.


“Only you seem a little down.”

“I'm fine.”

“You can overuse that word, you know.”

“It’s just …” He bit his lip.

“What?” Freya asked. When he didn’t respond, she added, “I could get Mal to order you. Or Jayne.”

He looked up to glare at her. “That won’t be necessary.”

“Then what is it?”

“I …” Now he looked ashamed. “I lost my money.”

“You … how?”

“My pocket got picked.” He shook his head in anger at himself. “First day on a Core planet and I am so stupid as to get my pocket picked and lose every cent I have.”

“Is that …” Zoe tried to keep a straight face. “Is that what Jayne was smiling about? It seemed all kinds of wrong that he’d be happy being in your company.”

“He … I told him. And I wish I hadn’t. He’s going to make my life hell over this, isn’t he?”


“How could someone do this?”

Freya looked at Zoe. “It happens.”

“Not to you!” He waved the knife at them. “You’re all so aware that no-one could have got close enough to do it to you!”

“And so will you be, now.”

“Yes, but that makes it too late!”

“For what?”

He bit down on his lip again. “Nothing,” he mumbled, going back to the onions.

“It would have been nice,” River said from the doorway. “But it’s not necessary.”

“Yes it was!” He glared at her. “I wanted to do it!”

Zoe and Freya exchanged baffled glances.

“I know.” River put her head to one side. “Don’t be upset.”

“I'm not.”

“I can see it.”

“Damn it, River, stop reading my mind!” He threw the knife down and stormed out of the galley, pushing past her.

“He’s being silly,” River said quietly, following him.

“Any idea what that was about?” Zoe asked.

“I’d say Jethro’s big romantic gesture just went down the intake.”

“Ah.” Zoe shook her head. “Poor kid.”

River caught up with him outside her room, and pulled him inside. “It’s all right,” she said. She made him sit down on the bed, and climbed up behind him.

“No it isn’t,” he said.

She put her arms around him, resting her chin on his shoulder. “I don’t mind,” she said softly.

“I do!” He stood up suddenly. “I wanted … it was going to be special, River. Just the two of us. You and me.” He began to pace, saying bitterly, “It would never have happened to Mal.”

“I don’t want to sleep with Mal,” River pointed out. “Not any more.”

He stopped and stared at her. “You mean you …”

She smiled, and he realised she was joking. “I never did.” Standing up she crossed the room to him, putting her arms around him. “It was a lovely thought. You and me in a restaurant. I could have borrowed one of Inara’s dresses, you could have worn that gold shirt you didn’t let me buy you, just like a proper couple. Real people.”

“You are real,” he protested, holding her close.

“But I don’t need that, Jethro.”

“But I do.”

She looked up into his brown eyes. “Why?”

“River, I want to make love to you. But … I can’t. Not here. Not with your brother, Mal … I just can’t do it.”

“We could go to the shuttle.”

“It’s still the same. Still on board.”

“Jethro –“

“No.” He’d never sounded so firm. “I wanted this to be our time. And instead I manage to lose all my money and make a total fool out of myself.”

“I have money.”

Jethro let go in shock. “No!”

“Why not?” She put her head onto one side. “Why shouldn’t I pay for us to have sex?”

His jaw dropped before he managed to gather himself. “Because that’s not the way it’s done!”

“Why not?” she said again. “Jethro, I want you to make me a woman. Why shouldn’t I pay?”

Now he pushed her away. “You’re making me sound like a whore.”

“Do you love me?” she asked, not taking offence and moving away, but not moving closer to him either.

“Yes. You know I do.”

“Then how can I make you sound like a whore?”

“River … this isn’t … I can’t …”

She sighed. “Then we wait. There’ll be another job. If you really can’t make love to me here, there will be other opportunities.” She sat down on her bed, tucking her legs under her, and picked up a book.

He stared at her. “What … what are you doing?”

“Reading,” she said, not lifting her head. “You’ve made the manly decision. And I'm not going to try and change your mind.”

“You’re … you’re not?”

“No.” She turned the page.

“River …”


He sighed. This was terrible, not just the way she was making him feel, but the way he felt in the first place. “I … I have a favour to ask.”

“Oh?” She still didn’t look up. “What’s that?”

“Could …” He sat down on the edge of the bed next to her, putting his hand on top of the text. “Would you lend me some money?” he asked. “I have something I need to do.”

Her head lifted, and he saw the most beautiful smile on her face. His heart melted.

“Of course, Jethro. And you can pay me back when we get paid again.”

“Of course.” He sighed. “You know you’re going to make me a shadow of my former self, don’t you?”

River patted him on the hand, lifting it from her book. “I don’t think so. Not yet.” If anything her smile widened and she dropped her head and began reading again. “And go and wash your hands. You smell of onions.”

to be continued


Friday, March 9, 2007 4:54 PM


Very interesting story line - can't wait to see where you're going with it!

Saturday, March 10, 2007 7:03 PM


I somehow think it would take more than a mere Alliance Standard year to deal with all the baggage Mal carries around in his heart and mind...even with professional assistance;)

And I really feel for Jethro. The poor schmuck is leagues more naive than Simon ever was - and doesn't THAT say something - and he's struggling to give River what he feel she deserves. And he gets his coin swiped by a pickpocket. And tells Jayne what happens when bumps into him. I really can't wait to see what befalls Serenity's newest man of the cloth next;D


Sunday, March 11, 2007 10:22 AM


This was great - I loved Mal's and Simon's convo. I think their relationship is one of the most complicated on Serenity, but also one of the best. I can't wait to see more of Kaylee taking care of Simon - I'm a sucker for that!

Sunday, March 11, 2007 1:56 PM


Loved all of this, especially Simon and Mal's talk and how River handled Jethro. Poor Simon, doctors really do make the worst patients but I am so glad that the others know what he has done as well as Kaylee. Now perphas he can get weaned off that drug and stop endangering his health. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me


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Now and Then - a Christmas story
“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Epilogue
"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

Monied Individual - Part XX
Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

Snow at Christmas
She’d seen his memories of his Ma, the Christmases when he was a boy on Shadow, even a faint echo of one before his Pa died, all still there, not diminished by his burning, glowing celebrations of now with Freya.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVII
Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XVI
He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XV
“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!]

“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!]