On The Edge: Chapter 8
Monday, March 26, 2007

Kaylee has a little emergency as the crew prepares to be separated. Post film. S/K.


I know. I know. This has taken me SO long to get out. I've been busy, promotion at work and all the lovely responsibilities that come along with it.

Chapter 7 can be found Here.

The next two chapters have been beta'd and I have a few changes to make but it shouldn't be more than a few days before I get the next chapter up.

Thanks to Tamsibling and Mal4Prez for the beta.

-------------- Chaper 8 ----------------

“We’re two weeks out from where we’re supposed to meet Zoe’s contact,” Mal said, sparing a brief look to everyone sitting around the table. “We’ll be dropping Inara, Kaylee and Madeline off on Newhall since we’re passin’ right close to the planet anyway. All goes well, we’ll come back an’ get ‘em when were’ done.”

“All don’t go well, we don’t never see you again,” Kaylee said beneath her breath.

“Least you’ll be alive,” Mal said firmly. He didn’t want to discuss this any further. There was a tension between Simon and Kaylee, though they tried to hide it. It wasn’t fair to separate them now, not with Kaylee so close to delivering. But – he’d made his decision. His crew needed to accept it.

“Are we done here?” Inara said, her voice short and curt.

“We’re done discussin’ all you need to hear,” came Mal’s quick retort. If he showed weakness now, there was no telling what would happen. He needed to hold out until they got back.

“Good.” Inara stood and walked out, the hem of her dress brushing the deck as she smoothly disappeared around the nearest corner.

Kaylee pushed herself to her feet, determined to talk to her friend, but frowned when Simon stood to assist.

“I’m fine, Simon,” Kaylee said. She was perfectly capable of getting up on her own. She was pregnant, not an invalid.

Simon dropped his arm but continued to watch her with a physician’s trained eye.

“Need to keep an eye on the engine. Make sure nothin’ breaks.” Kaylee met his gaze with a firm one of her own. “I’m not gonna break, Simon. You gotta stop treatin’ me like I might.” Without another look, she walked away, the room strangely silent behind her.

It took a few moments before anyone spoke. Even Jayne remained conspicuously silent during the entire exchange. Nor did he crack a joke of any kind once the women had left the room.

Simon resumed his seat, a sullen look on his face. River tried to comfort him, but he would have none of it. He simply crossed his hands in front of him on the table and stared at them, clearly trying to make sense of the mess his life had become.

Madeline scooted closer and slid one of her hands into his as Mal cleared his throat and began to give them all a much more detailed rundown of their plans.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Kaylee ambled dejectedly across the room, after calling for Inara and receiving her customary greeting. The mechanic’s shoulders slumped as she sank into the Companion’s plush couch. She didn’t need to say anything before Inara’s smooth, rich voice offered small comfort.

“He wants what’s best for you and the baby, mei mei.” Inara fluffed a plush pillow and offered to put it behind the pregnant woman’s back.

“He knows I might be needed here,” Kaylee said sullenly, “so does the cap. But he still wants to send me away.” She rested her hands on her belly, rubbing absently as she knew all pregnant woman did. The repetitive motion usually soothed her nerves, and settled the baby when it was particularly active. But it hadn’t been working lately. She hated herself for her reaction to the seemingly uncontrollable hormonal changes her body had gone through. “I’ll be such a bad mom.”

Inara sat swiftly and took the mechanic’s hands in her own. “Don’t say that, Kaylee. It’s not true.”

“I’m mad at Simon for wantin’ to send us away. All I can think about is what it’ll be like when he don’t come back. How I’ll have to raise the baby without ‘im.”

“Don’t think that way, Kaylee. Never think that way. They’ll come back and get us.” Inara’s voice was steady, but Kaylee knew she didn’t truly believe those words.

Kaylee’s gaze hardened as she stared into her friend’s eyes, wanting to hear it again. If Inara said it, she’d believe it. “Do you really think that, ‘Nara? ‘Cause I’m thinkin’ you’re just as scared of leavin’ as I am.”

Inara blinked back her surprise at the younger woman’s question. But years of training had given her the ability to lie and so she denied it smoothly. “I know they’ll come back for us.”

Kaylee stared at Inara for a moment, her jaw tense with doubt, then she sighed and looked away. Silence fell for a moment before she confessed, “I feel bad ‘bout bein’ so mad. But – he didn’t give me no choice. He just said, ‘this is where you’re goin’. We didn’t talk about it like we should have. Not really.”

“He just wants to protect you,” came a small voice from the other side of the room.

Both women glanced up sharply as Madeline walked slowly over to stand before them, her hands clasped politely in front of her.

Kaylee sighed heavily and glanced down at her hands. “I know.”

“He’s real upset,” Madeline said with a bluntness they should be used to by now.

The women noticed the younger girl’s eyes flit around the shuttle, clearly nervous. She never seemed so uncomfortable around Simon, Mal or any of the men.

Kaylee forced a smile to her lips. There was no reason the little girl needed to see her so distraught. She patted the cushion beside her and invited Maddy to come sit.

“No, its ok. I want to go back to Doctor Simon and my dad. They need me.”

The little girl backed quickly out of the shuttle before either of the women could say something to convince her to stay.

“Simon’s got an idea why she don’t like us very much,” Kaylee said as she rubbed her hands over her belly.

Inara regarded her friend with a cocked head and a raised eyebrow. “Oh?”

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

“You will maintain comm silence until you reach your destination. At that time, more coordinates will be relayed to you.”

Mal stared at the weathered face of the Independent general, his entire demeanor tense. This was important, and as much as he didn’t want to follow any rules but his own, he nodded slowly, accepting this stranger’s order as if it were one of his crew accepting his own – which they tended to do grudgingly anyway.

The general waited for confirmation and acceptance of his order and Mal gave it with gritted teeth. The battle this man fought to win was all but lost. Few factions were continuing to resist Alliance authority, but systematically they were being crushed beneath the military might of the United Federation of Allied Planets.

This man was the last link to a past Mal wanted to escape, but never wanted to forget. And so he wanted to give back something to these people he’d fought with so long ago. Delivering these plans into their hands would have to do.

“Understood,” Mal said, his jaw set, his eyes unwavering.

“Thank you for your cooperation. You understand our caution.”

“I do.”

“We’ll be in touch.”

The screen went dark and Zoe stepped forward, her stance stiff. “They sound grateful.”

Mal noticed her stern gaze. “Yeah, we’ll see if any of ‘em are still alive in two weeks.”

Zoe bent and flipped on the Cortex, where news reports continuously broadcasted highlights from Alliance-won battles on different worlds.

Mal spared a cursory glance at the screen. “You know how it is. History is written by the winners.”

“They ain’t won yet, Sir.”

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Simon was in the infirmary when it happened. A whirlwind of activity preceded Inara’s arrival with a wincing Kaylee wrapped in her tight embrace. Madeline had run ahead, calling for Simon as if she were Chicken Little afraid that the sky was falling.

“What happened?” Simon asked. He immediately wrapped his arms around Kaylee and guided her to the diagnostic chair.

“She started cramping,” Inara breathed. “She wanted to wait, see if they went away, but I was worried.”

Kaylee’s eyes watered as she clutched Simon’s arms. “It hurts, Simon.”

“I know.” Simon lifted her onto the table and smoothed back her sweat-soaked hair. “Just lay there. Shh. It will be okay.” His voice was calm, soothing, but inside his heart beat hard against his ribcage. “Breathe through the pain. Just like we practiced.” He motioned Inara to take Kaylee’s hand while Madeline simply stayed motionless in the doorway.

Simon moved from Kaylee’s side only to snatch a few vials and instruments from the counter. He quickly injected a drug that he hoped would stop the cramping and give Kaylee a chance to breathe normally. Her heart rate was high, but that, he deduced, was from the pain. After a moment, he was back at her side, the palm of his hand cradling her cheek. He leaned over and whispered gently, “Better?”

Kaylee’s body visibly relaxed into the chair as the medication moved swiftly through her body. She turned worried eyes on him. “The baby? It’s too soon, Simon. It’s –“

“Shh, shh,” he soothed with a long, slim finger to her lips. “The cramps are subsiding, right?”

Kaylee nodded hesitantly, her eyes still wide and fearful.

“I think it was just false labor.” He wrapped the stethoscope around his neck and sighed deeply.

“What caused it?” Inara asked, her concerned gaze sweeping over Kaylee as the younger woman lay on the diagnostic chair.

“Stress.” Simon said matter-of-factly and put the instrument in his ears so that he could listen for the baby.

Kaylee rolled her eyes and inhaled sharply as the cold metal touched her warm belly.. “Oh, no, ain’t had none of that recently.” The sarcasm dripped off her tongue like venom

“I want to do an exam. Make sure everything is okay.” He moved methodically around the room, filling the tray beside the diagnostic chair with the instruments he would need. When he began to drop the privacy screens over the infirmary windows, Inara moved toward the door.

“We’ll be right outside, mei mei.” Inara looked at Simon, who stopped for a brief moment and nodded.

“I’ll call you if I need anything.”

Simon watched for a brief moment as Inara placed her hands on Madeline’s shoulders and guided her out of the room, sliding the infirmary door shut behind her.

“We can’t go if –“

“I can give you enough medication to stop the labor if it begins again once you’ve left,” Simon interrupted. He knew instantly where Kaylee was going with this. She’d use any excuse not to leave the ship – and he had to admit, this was a pretty important one. “You won’t be en-route to Newhall for long.”

“But what if –“

“Inara will call ahead and have a medical team on standby,” Simon interrupted and then leaned down to meet Kaylee’s eyes. “Please don’t fight me on this. Please, Kaylee. I just want to keep you safe.”

Kaylee’s features hardened and for a moment Simon thought she was going to yell at him - again. But she simply looked away and whispered, ‘I know,” and left it at that.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

“What’s goin’ on?” Mal asked as he walked into the common room and found Jayne waiting outside the infirmary with Inara and Madeline. Zoe and Aaron followed at his heels, but stood politely back as Mal waited for answers.

“Kaylee went into labor,” Madeline answered quickly, before Inara had a chance to temper the announcement.

“What?” Mal’s eyes bugged widely out of his head as he turned to Inara for confirmation.

“Simon stopped the contractions. He wanted to examine her. That’s what he’s doing now.”

“Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

“What could you have done, Mal?” Inara stared at him as if he were a child, took a deep breath and then waited. When he didn’t answer quickly enough, she continued. “You’d have been in Simon’s way.”

“I’m the captain of this boat an’ I like to be informed.”

“Well, now you know,” Inara said sharply, and she returned her attention to the closed infirmary hatch.

Mal scowled and turned to Jayne. “Anything else to add?”

Jayne simply shrugged. “Nope. Just got here myself. Waitin’ to see how Kaylee’s fairin’.”

Aaron looked from Mal’s sour expression to Jayne and Inara’s stubborn stances, then his gaze settled on his daughter. He sighed and moved to her side. “Bao bei,” he said softly, “why don’t you go take a nap.”

“I’m not tired, dad.”

“Madeline.” The man’s tone left no room for argument and the girl stood, pouting prettily.

“All right. “She turned to Jayne. “Will you come get me when they’re done?”

Jayne dismissed her with a, “Sure lil’ pint,” his eyes still focused on the infirmary door.

Aaron walked Madeline to the passenger dorms and lifted her, even though she could do it herself, onto the bed. “I’m glad you care so much about Kaylee and the baby,” he said, and he brushed his hand through her long hair as she lay her head down on the pillow.

“Yeah, I suppose.”

Aaron studied her for a long moment. “Is something wrong?” They had talked about why he’d left the Core, and how important it was to put some distance between them and her mother. He knew it wasn’t easy for his little girl. It had been a big change, and a startling one, to find out her mother was suddenly an enemy.

“I miss mom.” There was longing in the girl’s voice, mixed with a bit of hopelessness, as she stared at the ceiling.

Aaron smiled sadly. “I understand, bao bei.”

Suddenly, the girls voice hardened as she added, “But I hate her too.”

Aaron’s eyes snapped toward Madeline’s face. “What?”

“I hate her.”

Aaron had no words of comfort. He’d used them all in the past. And, truthfully, he hated his wife very deeply, an emotion he knew his daughter could pick up on regardless of how he tried to hide it. But before he could try and formulate a response, Madeline continued.

“She makes weapons to kill innocent people. People like everyone on this ship just trying to live their lives. And – she likes it.” Madeline crawled into her father’s lap as he settled onto the bed beside her. “I don’t ever want to be like her.”

“Is that why you don’t like Inara and Kaylee?” He had seen her standoffish behavior toward the women instantly and had wondered, especially when he saw how much time she spent with Simon, if perhaps she was transferring her hate for her mother to the other women on the ship.

Madeline snuggled into her father’s chest.

Aaron wrapped his arms protectively around her, not pushing for an answer. “Not all women are like her, Maddy. I promise.”

“Why it have to be my mom?” Madeline said sullenly as she squeezed her eyes shut and snuggled closer to her father. For a few moments she was silent, but then she shifted again, clearly unable to find a comfortable position.

As Aaron watched his little girl’s brow furrow, her chest heave, and her body start to finally relax, he vowed to keep her demons away at whatever the cost.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

“Command understands the importance of retrieving these plans,” Maris snapped at the aide who stood beside her. “I want all available resources tracking that ship.”

The man swallowed nervously, and resisted the urge to wipe his sweaty palms on his crisply-pressed pants. The longer it took to find that damnable ship, the worse her mood, and her treatment of her subordinates, became. “It’s being done.”

“Then why are they not standing in my brig?” she demanded, her eyes narrowed to tiny slits.

The man glanced around briefly as the rest of the bridge crew turned back to their work, eager to keep from further earning the angry woman’s ire. His entire body tense, he answered slowly, “The ship has alluded us. They must have a good pilo–“

“I don’t want excuses. I want results.”

The man felt a chill roll down his spine as her eyes burned into his, clearly indicating to him that further failure would yield most unpleasant consequences.

“You’ll get them.” The man turned away and barked an order that immediately set the recipient on edge.

“I’d better.”



This is what I get for posting at night instead of the morning.

Chapter 9 was posted with this but I've taken it out. Sorry for the inconvenience. Those who read this last night will be a chapter ahead!


Liked it? Hated it? Leave a review and let me know.


Monday, March 26, 2007 8:14 PM


Oy - the tension! Kill me why don't ya?

The whole thing with Simon and Kaylee arguing over whether she should go just chills me. Only because it's an unenviable position for them both, but also because I get the distinct impression they may not see each other again ... But you wouldn't do that *gulps* Would you?!?!?!?!

And I really do love Maddy. Her little bit at the end of chapter 8 about hating her mother was so poignant and dead on for a little kid. And it helps explain why she's so skittish around the women.

So gorram shiny - this is why you're my hero!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 2:27 AM


That's weird, I just posted up a comment and it came up... blank! Gorramit, the ruttin' Alliance have stolen my feedback. Seriously, this is brilliant! Loved Kaylee and Simon's dialogue which at times was frustratingly painful. Little Maddy is a wonderful creation but I don't like her parents. Aaron is as chillingly selfish in his planned betrayal of the crew as Maris is in her capture of them. And why oh why can't River be coherent BEFORE the *goushi* hits the fan? Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 2:32 AM


YAY! You updated!

Loved this - I really feel for both Simon and Kaylee, its a no-win situation. But I have faith everything will turn out okay in the end ... right...?

As for the lil' cliffie.... you are just mean. Brilliant, but mean. LMAO


Tuesday, March 27, 2007 4:27 AM


Oh crap, now they've been kidnapped.
Bet there's a few of people onboard who feel a bit stupid for sending them away.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 4:30 PM


Well now...been a while since I last immersed myself in this tale, Leiasky. Gotta say it's like riding a bicycle;D

Ooh...mucho props for the Silee tension! Definitely could see this kind of occurence if Kaylee got pregnant and the two men in her life (Mal and Simon) are adamant that she be removed from the danger. Only probably is that she - and the other people being sent off to Newhall - are not safe, regardless of their location:(

Oh, before I forget, is the name of Maddy's mother deliberate? Cuz I have to admit that every time I read the name "Maris"...I think of Niles Crane's never-seen harridan of a wife from "Frasier." Could strangely imagine David Hyde Pierce in the Aaron role all of a sudden;)


Wednesday, March 28, 2007 11:48 AM


Mal spared a cursory glance at the screen. “You know how it is. History is written by the winners.”

“They ain’t won yet, Sir.”

Love that exchange, so Joss.

Also really liked the family-feel of everyone waiting to hear about Kaylee.

Saturday, March 31, 2007 9:02 AM


okay..deep breaths, deep breaths. relax.
Tension's so gorram thick it'd take a chainsaw to get through it, lol. Love the waiting in the wings of the crew with Kaylee, but Zoe was conspicuously absent..hmmm, lil' bit o' resentment there..the baby she and Wash will never have?.
Damn fine writing, Leiasky, as always!

Thursday, April 12, 2007 9:40 AM


Poor Maddy. It's unfair that she's in the situation she is, and I really do feel for her. I was a bit shocked at the sudden change in emotion from her, missing her mum to suddenly hating her. Explains why she's wary around the other women though! I hope she does get to see that they're not all like that.

So much angst, it makes my heart sad! Very good chapter though :-)


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Simon and Kaylee discuss other - avenues, as they lay in bed. Oddly, this is a pretty PG story.

Simon and kaylee disturb the ship with their nocturnal activities. Post BDM. Part of a challenge table. Rated NC-17 for adult content.

Broken Wings: Conclusion (Repost)
The crew take Kaylee home to be buried and the reason for Simon's secrecy is discovered. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 18 (Repost)
Simon, Mal and Jayne have a moment with Kaylee. Inara and River are reunited with the rest of the crew. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 17 (Repost)
Simon has a conversation with Zoe, Mal and Jayne - separately. Sequel to 'On the Edge.' Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 16 (Repost)
The crew is reunited - mostly, as Simon arrives to treat the wounded. River rushes to Inara's aid before her deception is discovered. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 15 (Repost)
Simon's escape is halted by his father. But River comes to the rescue. Jayne - sees the light - far too up close and personal for his safety. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 14 (Repost)
Simon and Inara's deception is discovered. Mal, Jayne and Zoe continue to fight what looks to be a losing battle. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 13 (Repost)
Simon has some unexpected help with his fussy son and River receives another assignment. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 12 (Repost)
Inara and Simon continue their work while a message gets out to those on the front lines. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.