Sweet Sorrow - Part IV
Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Maya. Post-BDM. Simon tries to explain his actions. Thanks for the feedback, and keep it coming. I hope this chapter answers a few of the questions you've had ...


She wouldn’t talk to him. Wouldn’t even look at him. She sat next to Jayne, holding his hand as he lay unconscious, staring into his face.

Simon tried everything. Pleading. Cajoling. Even getting angry with her.

“Damn it, River, you can’t just ignore me!” He went to take hold of her arm, but she pulled it away before he could touch her.

Freya called from outside in the common area. “Simon, could you join me for a moment?”

“Can’t it wait?”


Simon stepped out of the infirmary to face the other woman, leaning on her stick. “Are you in pain?” he asked.

“No. But someone else is.”

He glanced back over his shoulder at his sister. “I‘ve been trying to help her -”

“Not River.”

He looked at her. “Then who?”

“Kaylee.” Freya’s look was a mixture of sympathy and pity. “She heard, Simon.”

He closed his eyes. “I know.” There was an ache in his heart, and not just for River.

“You really need to speak to her.”

Simon shook his head. “It’s not the right time. I should really stay here -”

“There won’t be a right time, not for what you have to do. But you still have to do it.”

He stared at her then dropped his head. “I’ve blown it with Kaylee, haven’t I?”

“I don’t know,” Freya admitted. “She’s very angry, and upset. You need to go and apologise.”

“But I -”

“Simon, just do it. Fall on your sword if you have to. But you don’t want to leave this to fester.”

“And if she doesn’t listen?”

“Oh, I didn’t say she’ll listen. She won’t. It’s going to take more than an apology to make things right.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of. What I said, what I did … shooting Jayne … I can’t even get it all straight in my own head, let alone explain it to anyone else.”

“You were worried about your sister. Simon, everyone gets that.”

“But there’s more to it.”

“So tell me.”

“Everything.” He collapsed onto the yellow sofa. “It’s just everything. River, Jethro, Jayne … what happened to you … my sterility … it all … Freya, I can’t get away from it.”

“Do you want to?” She sat down carefully next to him.

“Kaylee worries that I sometimes wish I’d never come out here. Well, it’s true. I do. Sometimes. But most of the time I’m just glad someone as wonderful as her even spoke to me.”

“Only most of the time?”

He looked up at her, anguish in his pale eyes. “You’ve lived in the Core. How … how easy it is. Someone else taking responsibility all the time. You abide by their rules, their laws, and everything just ticks along.”

“Until they take your sister.”

“If they hadn’t done that …” He shook his head. “I wake up in the middle of the night and wonder what I’d have been doing.”

“More so lately?”

“A little. My mother always wanted me to be on the Medical Elect. I don’t really know if it was because she thought I was a good doctor, or because she wanted to be able to tell all her friends. I’m afraid I think it tended to be the latter. But I was saving lives. A trauma surgeon, saving lives every day.”

“Simon, you do that here.” Freya spoke softly. “You put me back together, and I was really broken. If you hadn’t been here, I wouldn’t have made it.”

“You’re my friend.”

“And Kaylee’s your wife. Simon, you have to get your priorities straight here.”

“My priorities?” A flash of anger crossed his face. “My priorities? What about Jayne’s? He would have -”

“He didn’t,” Freya interrupted. “And no, he wouldn’t. She asked him to stay, because she was hurting. And he was there for her.”

“So am I!”

“I know.” Freya sighed. “And you’re jealous because she doesn’t want you right now.”

“Jealous?” His jaw dropped. “You think I’m jealous of that great ape?”

“Oh, yes.” She almost laughed. “Big time.”

Simon was about to deny it, to protest that he just had her best interests at heart, but he couldn’t. “How can I be jealous of Jayne?” he whispered.

Freya pinched the bridge of her nose between two fingers, trying to clear the nagging headache. “You know the answer to that one, Simon.”

“I’m afraid I do. I can't be everything she needs.” He gazed into the infirmary. “But he isn’t good enough for her.”

“No, he isn’t. And he knows it. That’s one of the reasons he hasn’t tried to seduce her, even when she was playing with him.”

Simon’s head whipped round. “You mean she asked him … to …”

“Simon, you know those conclusions you keep jumping too?”

He stared then nodded. “Why does she like him?”

“Because they’re alike.”

Simon shook his head. “No, no. That I won’t … I can’t agree with.”

“They both have the capacity for extreme violence, Jayne through his own being, and River through what they did to her at the Academy. I understand that violence, Simon. I live with it every day.”

“But she’s just a child …”

“You keep saying that, yet you know she isn’t. And you can’t keep her that way.” She sighed. “Simon, she was going to sleep with Jethro. That night. When we were on Ariel. They were going to go to dinner, then to a hotel and spend the night together.”

Simon’s face leeched of all its colour. “No.”

“Yes. Your little sister was planning on having sex.”

“But she’s -”

“You say she’s a child once more and I’ll shoot you myself.” Freya leaned back. “She was quite matter-of-fact about it, as well. Asked me for advice on contraception.”

“She …” He couldn’t finish. His little sister, his mei-mei, wanting to know how to avoid unwanted pregnancies … He swallowed. “But at least Jethro was … well, better than Jayne.”

“Not better. Different.”

“Now you’re just playing with words. And he was Core-bred.”

“Don’t be a snob. Maybe he was, but he was brought up on Eos, did you know that? One of the Bernadette moons.”

“I know. Kaylee told me. Why?”

“Do you know the main occupation of those people who grub out an existence on that moon?”


“They’re smugglers. Or rather, they’re a port for smugglers. Most places have half a dozen hidey-holes for contraband. A time-honoured profession there.” She gazed at him. “If Jethro hadn’t taken it into his mind to become a Shepherd, he’d likely have become a smuggler himself. Or worse. No matter that he talked well or could use the correct knives at the dinner table.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Simon, like you said, I was born in the Core. I was expected to make a good marriage, probably someone from a family we already knew. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if my father hadn’t already got someone picked out for me when I upset the apple cart by saying I wanted to be a Companion. Which, as far as he was concerned, was the next best thing, and a quicker way of getting me out from underfoot.”

“Surely they didn’t -”

Freya shrugged. “I don’t know what they thought. Well, I do, but I didn’t understand it then.” She leaned forward. “They were afraid of me, Simon. Afraid of me, their own daughter.”

“Aren’t you exaggerating just a little?”

“No. But one way or the other, do you think they would ever have thought I could fall for a man like Mal? ”

“But love doesn’t take any notice of …” His voice trailed off.

“Exactly. Core-bred and a Browncoat, or you and a mechanic … or your sister and a mercenary.”

“But this is Jayne we’re talking about.”

“Yes, it is. And she loves him.”

Simon was aghast. “You can’t mean that.”

“Oh, I do. His feelings for her … well, they’re reciprocated. They just haven’t told each other yet.”

Simon crumpled. “She can’t.” He shook his head. “I can’t let her.”

“I’m not sure you have the authority any longer.” Freya got up. “And if she chooses Jayne, you’re going to have to live with it.”

“Frey -”

“Go to your wife, Simon. Go and apologise for your stupid and thoughtless remarks. And hope she forgives you.” She went back into the infirmary.

“Why do you speak to him?” River asked, not moving. “He doesn’t listen.”

“He’s gone to apologise to Kaylee.”

“It might be too late.”

“She’ll forgive him in the end. Like you have to.”

“I won’t.”

“Then you’ll lose a brother.” Freya pulled up another stool and perched carefully. “He didn’t mean to -”

River’s head snapped up. “I’m an adult. I have to be allowed to make my own choices.”

“And if they’re the wrong ones?”

”Then that’s my responsibility, not his.”

“And if he wants to protect you from the pain?”

“He has a family! He should be protecting them!” River pushed her hair behind her ears. “He still sees me as broken, and maybe I am. Maybe I’ll never be better than this, with parts of me still missing. But he can’t live his life trying to look after me. And I won’t live mine that way either!”

“And Jayne?” Freya looked down at the unconscious man, his face softer, gentler in repose. “What he did … it’s not just Simon, is it?”

River sighed, a sound drawn from years of damage. “He felt guilty. Thought it was his fault Jethro died. That if he let Simon kill him, he might atone.”

“River, it doesn’t work like that.”

“I know.”

“Do you just feel sorry for him?”

“No.” She reached out and stroked Jayne’s face, feeling the stubble growing on his cheeks. “I love him.”

Freya nodded. “Yes. I told Simon that.”

The girl turned large dark eyes on her friend. “Oh, Frey, what do I do?”

“What would your Preacher Book have said to do? What would Jethro have said to do?”

River bit her lip. “Forgive.” Her voice was a whisper. “So I have to forgive Simon.”

“Yes.” Freya reached out and took her hand. “And yourself.”


“It wasn’t your fault either.”

Tears rolled down River’s cheeks. “Oh, Frey …”


“Kaylee?” Simon stood outside the engine room and peered inside. He could see a pair of legs poking out from under the engine housing.

“I don’t have time,” the young mechanic said. “I’ve got me other things to do.”

“Kaylee, please.” He stepped inside.

“Go back to your sister, Simon. You seem to think she needs you more than we do.”

“Please come out. I’d rather not be having a conversation with your feet.” There was no sound, no movement from under the engine. “All right,” he said at last. “She doesn’t want me, Kaylee. Doesn’t need me. Please, that’s why I’m here -”

There was a squeal of small wheels and the trolley hurtled out. Kaylee sat up, her face white. “So we’re second on your list? River ain’t needful, so you can spare a little of your precious time for your wife and daughter?” Her tone was scornful, but her eyes were moist, pained. “Well, maybe we don’t need you either. Got enough folks on board this boat to look out for us. Don’t need you to drag yourself away from your real family to spend time with us.”

“Kaylee, I know what I said, and I’m sorry. Really sorry. It’s just that -”

She was on her feet, pushing him back towards the door. “It’s always ‘just‘! Just this, or just that. I know she’s your sister, and I know what you gave up for her! But we’re supposed to come first, else why bother with us at all?”

“Kaylee, please -”

“No, Simon!” She thrust him hard, leaving grease stains on his sweater. “I don’t want to see you! Go away … just … go away!”

“Kaylee …”

She slammed the door closed, and he heard the finality of the lock inside being thrown.


“That man makes me wish I’d followed my first instinct and shot him when he came on board that day on Persephone.” Mal stood with his arms crossed, staring out at Ibis growing larger in the window.

“You don’t mean that,” Hank said, making a slight correction.

“No? Life could have been a lot less interesting without him.”

“And you’d be dead, along with half your crew.”

“Stop being reasonable when I’m contemplating murder,” Mal grumbled.

Hank laughed. “Can’t help you there, captain.”

Mal muttered under his breath, something that sounded entirely unrepeatable in mixed company, then lowered his arms to hitch his thumbs in his belt. “How long ‘til we hit dirt?”

“Thirty minutes.”

“You’ll have to help load cargo since Jayne’s out of commission.”

“No problem.” The pilot looked up at him. “He gonna be okay?”

Mal shrugged. “Simon’s a good doctor.”

“Lucky he’s a bad shot.”

“Actually, I think he’s getting better.”

“Nah. Now, if it’d been you, Jayne’d be ready to push up daisies.”

“And just how would I have explained that to his mother?”

“Does he really have one? I mean, I‘ve seen the occasional letter, and those hats …” Hank shivered.

“Never met her myself, but unless Jayne has a hidden talent we know nothing about, she really does exist.”

“He offered to get her to make me one. Asked me what colours I’d like and everything.”

“What did you say?”

“That my head doesn’t get cold.”

Mal smiled. “You shoulda said yes. Some parts of the ‘verse, they’re probably the height of sartorial elegance.”

“Mal, if you ever decide to go there, it’ll be with a new pilot.”

His captain laughed.


Simon felt Serenity land, and sighed. He was alone in the infirmary for the moment, apart from Jayne, who currently showed no signs on wanting to rejoin the land of the living. Not that he minded. At least it was quiet and he could think. He was grateful to Freya for having taken River off to shower and change, so at least he didn’t have to put up with her accusing silence.

“Anything you need, Simon?” Zoe asked from the doorway. “Cargo won’t be here for an hour or two, so if you want any supplies …”

“I …” He glanced at his cabinets, knowing there was little he could honestly say he was lacking in. Yet … “There’s a couple of things I’d like to look for,” he said, carefully avoiding her eyes. He busied himself changing the IV bag. “But I think I should go myself. There’s a lot of fake drugs out there, and I wouldn’t want to be needing something and find it was just water.”

“What about your patient?”

“He’s stable. And I’m sure you’re more than capable of looking after him for the short time I’ll be away.”

“Me?” Zoe sounded surprised. “I ain’t a doctor.”

“No, but you know your way around a sickbay.” Simon turned to look at her. “And I won’t be gone that long.”

“Why don’t you just write down what you need, and I’ll -”

“No!” Simon closed his eyes briefly. “No. That’s fine. I’ll be an hour, probably less. It’s more than likely I won’t be able to find what I want, but …” He sighed. “Zoe, I just need to get out of here for a little while.”

Serenity’s first mate nodded slowly. “Just don’t take all your money.”

“I won’t.” He smiled sadly at her, and she noted the deep lines around his eyes that hadn’t been there before.

He quickly checked Jayne’s condition for one last time and hurried out of the infirmary, towards the cargo bay and freedom.

She watched him go, her hands on her hips, thinking carefully.

to be continued


Wednesday, April 11, 2007 1:09 PM


Why do I get the feeling Simon's about to do something really stupid? Who knows, maybe he'll get lucky and do the right thing, but it doesn't sound like it's boding well for him. He's screwed up enough already, he doesn't need more.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007 1:34 PM


I think Simon is off to try and find a gift for Kaylee to show how sorry he is, seeing as how every time he opens his mouth it's only to change feet. That's not to say he won't find trouble anyway. And Frey being the voice of reason and conscience - shiny! I also loved the brief Hank and Mal conversation, especially Hank's last line. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 2:59 PM


Simon's not going to do the right thing at all. I'd wager he's considering not coming back. River doesn't need him (and isn't too keen on fogiving him), Kaylee doesn't want him (and isn't too keen on fogiving him), Mal and Jayne are probably fixin' to kill him. Why not get himself mugged or hired on somewhere else and save everyone the trouble?

Yes, yes, it's not logical, but for all his smarts, Simon's martyr complex is pretty strong. His "handing off" of Jayne to Zoe seemed rather ominous.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 3:17 PM


Is Simon about to do yet another stupid thing?! What's the deal? Those fertility drugs must have affected his brain function as well! Looking forward to the next chapter.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 7:59 PM


Yes, I think we're in agreement that Simon is either going to do something incredibly dumb or get snatched. This does not bode well for the good doctor Tam.

However, I do think he had a point when he told Freya he just couldn't escape it all. A lot has been piling on his shoulders, and while they are fairly broad, every man has a limit.

I would love to see a little Bethany/Simon interaction as little ones can often ease the pain of their parents. It's a talent.

Sunday, April 15, 2007 7:19 AM


Oh Simon...why do I get the feeling that he's about to end up making an attempt at being a martyr or something? That or he will get snatched trying to get something for Kaylee or to help Jayne as part of some sort of atonement for shooting Jayne?

Still...I gotta admit I have more than an inkling of sympathy for the good doctor right now. The man has had one crisis dropped on him, with another following soon after. I would be way past the bend if I was in Simon's shoes, personally...but I really hope that some time of cleansing can come for all involved soon.



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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!]