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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Continuation of the Simon-centric 100 Prompts story. Kaylee's dreams get worse and Simon gets more concerned. Plus, the crew stops to resupply and danger is lurking. Simon/Kaylee, Mal/Inara. Rated PG-13 for talk of unpleasantness.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1394 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: Thanks to everyone for all the great comments and continued interest in this story. I'm really glad you like it. I have had to take a break on writing some of my new third part to the "Best Intentions" trilogy, but I'm hoping to start it again soon.
Thanks again to Leiasky as well for the beta. After this chapter there are four more to go ... hold on to your hats, kiddies!
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12
Link to prompt table
The Right To Love - Chapter 13 (Prompts 76-80)
Why? Why were they hurting her again? Hadn’t they hurt her enough the first time? Kaylee tried to crawl away from the faceless men, half of them in shadow, half of them robed in white, but there was no where she could go that they couldn’t follow, and with a whimper, she felt them kick her again, beating her about the head and chest.
Curling herself into the tightest ball imaginable, Kaylee still could not protect herself and so, in a haze of sleep, she stumbled from the bed she’d been sharing with Simon and worked herself into a corner of the room, her naked form shaking so violently from the cold that she felt her teeth rattling in her head. Still crying, she brought her arms up to her face trying to protect herself from the sharp boots and knives.
Simon awoke the minute he felt the bed shift, knowing that Kaylee had moved. Instinctively he reached for her, surprised to find she had gotten up. Still a bit groggy, the sound of Kaylee’s whimper from the corner of the room brought Simon to full consciousness and he bolted upright, searching for her. Pushing the covers off of himself, he rushed towards her, noting how shaken she was, how her small form could not stop convulsing.
“Kaylee?” he called gently, reaching out a tentative hand. At his touch she screamed, a terrified sound that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Knowing he needed to wake her, he did not reach for her again, but said, “Kaylee. Wake up, you’re safe.”
It didn’t work and Simon’s heart started to beat wildly. Watching as she shivered, Simon went back to the bed for a blanket and wrapped it around her, pulling her into his chest in the process despite the fight she gave him. He held her easily – she seemed so small – and he rocked her, not caring as his bare bottom came into contact with the cold floor. He didn’t care about anything at this moment in time other than Kaylee.
“Kaylee, wake up, please,” he begged her, pressing his lips to her temple, surprised by how cold she was. “It’s me, bao bei. It’s Simon.”
With a jolt that Simon held her tight against, Kaylee’s eyes snapped open, her fear dimming a bit as she felt his arms around her, loving and warm. Glancing into his face, she searched his eyes, her fingers gliding over his features, as she whispered hoarsely, “Simon?”
Smiling to her, despite the residual fear he felt, he told her, “Yes, Kaylee, it’s me. You’re okay.”
With a sigh of relief, she sagged into him and Simon released his own breath. He kept her tight to him for a few more minutes, but beginning to shiver himself, he put her on her feet and got them both back in bed. Reaching for a pair of sweatpants she’d brought him, he slid out of bed to go relight the fire, only to be stopped by Kaylee’s cold hand. “Don’t go,” she begged, her eyes still full of terror.
Kissing her forehead, he told her, “I’m not leaving, Kaylee. I’m just going to stoke the fire,” he explained pointing at the dying embers no more than five feet from the bed. “Okay?”
She nodded reluctantly, releasing the grip on his arm and burying herself in the covers as her body continued to shake. As Simon returned to her and noted how she still shivered, he pawed through the overnight bag she’d brought and found one of his sweaters. Sliding into bed next to her again, she moved towards him instantly, and Simon told her, “Here, lift your arms.” She did as he instructed and he dropped the warm garment over her head, not at all surprised by how sexy she looked in his clothes.
Smiling weakly at him, she launched herself back into his embrace, and with Kaylee firmly attached to his chest Simon managed to pull the blankets back around them and then lie down with her. His own fear for her nearly palpable, Simon waited a few seconds and then said, “Kaylee, maybe we should talk about it.”
Shaking her head, she did not move from his embrace, but only nestled in closer to him, her head firmly tucked under his chin, her arms wrapped tight around him. As he continued to hold her, running a light hand across her back, he began speaking to her softly, telling her stories, fairy tales he remembered from when he was a child. The sound of his voice seemed to soothe her and as he finished the third one he paused, wondering if maybe she had drifted back to sleep.
But when she spoke in a low and trembling voice, he knew she’d only been fortifying her courage. “It was them men again,” Kaylee told him, feeling decidedly warmer, and a lot safer, but still scared. “They was beatin’ on me.”
Simon closed his eyes and said a silent prayer, before asking, “When’s the last time you had this dream?”
Her eyes staring into the fireplace she said, “I dunno. ‘Bout a week after you left. If I’ve had ‘em since, I don’t ‘member ‘em.” She was silent again for a moment and then her voice cracked as she asked him, “Why?”
“Shenme?” Simon asked softly, placing a finger under her chin and tilting her face up to look at him.
“Why now?” she asked, swallowing hard. “I’m so happy. Why I gotta keep havin’ these dreams?”
Simon nuzzled his cheek against her hair and told her, “I don’t know, Kaylee. The human mind is very complex. It could just be a coincidence or it could be your subconscious trying to tell you something.”
“Like what?” she asked shakily, her eyes imploring him to tell her something that could help.
“I don’t know,” he admitted with a soft sigh. “But it doesn’t matter. We’ll get through this. You’ll be all right.”
Looking to him with wide and trusting eyes, so very much like his sister’s, Kaylee asked him, “You promise?”
“With everything I am, bao bei,” he answered her, brushing a light kiss to her mouth. As she settled back against him, he squeezed her tighter to him and found that he did not sleep for the rest of the night, choosing instead to stay awake and chase Kaylee’s monsters away.
It was time to head back into the black and the crew of Serenity knew it. With tearful goodbyes and promises to wave more often, everyone took their leave, more than grateful for the hospitality the Fryes had shown them. Kaylee’s folks had hugged her tight, telling her to be safe and take good care of that handsome doctor who was now her fiancé. Kaylee had simply grinned, watching as her father pulled Simon aside and said something to him in a low voice that made him blanch.
Giggling, Kaylee moved to Simon’s side and pulled him onto the ship, her arm in his. They waved until the ramp closed shut and then Kaylee turned to him and asked, “So, what’d my pa say?”
Simon turned to her, noting the gleam in her eye and he guessed she knew perfectly well what her father had said to him. “That if I ever hurt his baby girl the Alliance would be the least of my worries.”
“Ah, hell, don’t worry ‘bout that, doc,” Mal said as he moved past the young couple to head for the bridge. “Hank said the same thing to me when lil’ Kaylee shipped out.”
His trepidation not in any way eased, Simon swallowed a retort as Mal called back to them, “Kaylee, would you take your hands off my medic for at least five minutes to go check on your engine? We need to get this bird in the air.”
“Yes, cap’n,” Kaylee chirped. Turning back to Simon she kissed him and said, “Come visit me later,” before she skipped away. Simon watched her go, glad when he was alone in the cargo bay and then with a quickened step, he took the stairs two at a time, knocking on Inara’s shuttle door.
As the Companion opened the hatch to admit him, Simon grinned to her sheepishly. Watching as his anxiety manifested itself in the clenching and unclenching of his fists, Inara asked him, “Would you like some tea?”
“What? Oh, no, thank you,” he said, obviously uncertain what to say.
Moving to the couch, Inara sat easily and patted the cushion beside her. “Simon, aren’t we friends?” At the shocked look that graced his face, she smiled easily and asked, “Then why the nerves?”
Releasing a big breath, Simon sat down beside her and chuckled at his own ineptitude. “I’m sorry, Inara, you’re right. I’m just a bit worried, I guess.”
Furrowing her brow at him, Inara questioned, “About Kaylee?”
Meeting her gaze, Simon told her seriously, “Yes. When we were out at the cottage, she had another nightmare.”
Not exactly seeing the need for such concern, Inara prompted him for more. “That’s to be expected though isn’t it? Chances are Kaylee will have flashes of her time at Niska’s complex for rest of her life.”
Simon nodded once, not at all relishing that prospect, but knowing it was true. Dreams and nightmares could be triggered at any time, especially when surrounding a traumatic event. “But this was more than a nightmare, Inara. She was shaking uncontrollably, screaming and crying. She didn’t know where she was. It took me too long to wake her.” He paused and then added quietly, “It was like one of River’s dreams.”
Inara inhaled at this statement, her eyes going wide. Using her training, she brought her own heart rate back under control and asked, “Well, you saw the medications and drugs they injected her with. Could one of them be causing it?”
Shaking his head, Simon ran his hands over his face. “No, I don’t think so. Those drugs should have been flushed out of her system while she was still in the hospital.”
“Is it possible they weren’t?” she questioned, trying to get Simon to see it from every angle, hoping that as he realized that all Kaylee was suffering from was a bit of fear, he’d relax.
Turning weary eyes to her, he said quietly, “Without running more tests, I won’t know for sure.”
Smiling lightly to him Inara said, “Well, then why don’t you run those tests? I’m sure Kaylee would willingly sit for one of your examinations.”
Returning her grin with one of his own, Simon told her, “I suppose.” Rising, he glanced back to her and said, “Maybe I’ll look over some of those preliminary tests I ran first. I don’t want to worry her more.”
Inara stood as well and walked him out. “That sounds like a good plan. Let me know if I can do anything to help,” she told him, squeezing his arm lightly. Simon smiled kindly to her and then quickly headed for the infirmary, hoping his hunch was wrong.
Simon was tired and disappointed by the time he made his way to Kaylee’s bunk. Despite the hours he’d spent pouring over those results, he hadn’t found anything. She was already in bed when he arrived, her hair brushed, a book in her lap. Smiling to her as he sat on the end of the bed and pulled off his shoes, Simon had started to pull his shirt off when he felt Kaylee’s warm and seemingly naked body behind him.
Her hands running up and over his shoulders, she worked at his buttons while she kissed him. “Let me do that, sweetie.”
Simon did not argue with her, but instead let his hands fall to his lap as Kaylee slowly parted his shirt and slid her hand against his chest. Turning his face to meet hers, he asked, “Are you still going to do that for me when we’re married?”
Cocking her head to the side as if considering, she said, “Hmm, I ‘spose.” Moving to sit in his lap, her legs straddling his hips, she told him, “Long as you do a few things for me.”
“Anything,” he told her and meant it. Simon knew he would do any and everything that Kaylee asked. Grinning wickedly, she again began to kiss him, her tongue and teeth running down his neck as her hands ran across his abdomen.
Simon pulled her tight to him, feeling her breasts press into his chest, and the erection building in his pants ached as she rubbed her body over it. As she continued to kiss him, only heightening his desire, she murmured, “So, what’d ya do today?”
Wondering why she’d be asking at a time like this, Simon mumbled, “Ah, want to see Inara, stocked the infirmary,” even as his mouth closed over her neck and sucked gently.
“What’d you an’ ‘Nara talk ‘bout?”
“You,” he told her truthfully, his voice dropping a few octaves as his need drove his actions.
“Oh really,” she asked, the hint of playfulness in her tone. “What ‘bout lil’ ol’ me?”
“Nothing,” he said, wishing with every fiber of his being that she would let him up for a minute so he could shed his pants and thrust into her. “Just your dream.”
Abruptly, Kaylee jerked back, her eyes blazing not with passion, but with anger. “You tol’ ‘Nara ‘bout my dream?”
Having difficulty thinking with his brain at this very moment, Simon blinked a few times and then said, “Yes. I was concerned.”
“Then why din’t ya talk to me?” Kaylee sat back from him, her hands firmly planted on her hips. Of course, her peeved expression and flushed face did nothing to quell his desire, but with as much self-restraint as he had ever possessed, Simon tried not to think about that.
“I didn’t want to upset you,” he told her honestly.
“Oh, well, glad to see ya thought that plan out,” she grumbled, swinging her legs from around him and standing, reaching for her robe in the process. “You shouldn’t be tellin’ ‘Nara ‘bout my dream.”
“Why?” Simon asked, now not only severely unfulfilled, but also confused at her reaction. “She’s your friend. She cares about you. We both do.”
“You shouldn’t be tellin’ her my business,” she said, her voice dropping to a low growl. “I don’ wan’ her knowing.”
Truly at a loss, Simon asked, “Why?”
When she had no answer, Simon felt even worse. Rising, he went to her, placing his hands on her arms, hoping she might finally talk to him. “Kaylee, tell me.” Pausing, he added, “You know Inara would never think badly of you.”
Her eyes still burning, Kaylee told him, “It was a private moment, Simon. ‘Tween you an’ me.”
Dismayed, Simon began to re-button his shirt knowing that this conversation would not end the way it had begun. “You’re going to lecture me about privacy, Kaylee?” he muttered bitterly. “Oh, that’s brilliant.”
Consumed with his own annoyance, he was missing the warning signals Kaylee was practically screaming at him. She was shaking again, shivering, and while Simon would later reflect that he had noticed, he thought at the moment it was just a side effect of her anger.
“Sure, I want one thing to stay ‘tween us an’ now I’m the hypocrite,” she retorted, still shaking. “Get out, Simon. I don’ wanna see you right now.”
“The feeling is mutual,” he shot back, before grabbing his shoes and making his way up the ladder. As soon as she heard the hatch bang shut, Kaylee sank to the floor, unable to stay on her feet any longer.
In a huff, Simon stormed into the infirmary, throwing his shoes against the wall. Sitting on the stool where he had spent most of his day looking for something that would help Kaylee, he again pulled the test results out of her file, this time bringing out her records from the hospital as well.
With tired eyes, he continued to look through them, cross-referencing as he went. A few hours later when he still had found nothing, he was startled to hear River’s voice in the doorway. “Go.”
Turning to regard her, Simon saw the distraught look on her features, and went to her. “Mei mei?” he questioned gently, taking her by the shoulders. “Are you all right?”
Looking to him even more intently, River told him urgently, “Go now. She needs you.”
Fear closing over his heart, Simon sprinted from the room and toward the crew bunks, pushing open Kaylee’s ladder and scrambling down it. She was thrashing about again in her sleep, crying and whimpering in pain and Simon went to her with barely a thought.
As he took her by the shoulders and tried to calm her, he wished fleetingly that he’d brought a smoother and a second later River was with him, his medical bag in her hands. Taking it from her, he said softly, “Thank you, mei mei.”
Injecting Kaylee quickly, Simon waited until her body had again stilled, before turning back to regard his sister. “Do you know what’s wrong with her, River?” he asked tentatively, worried about what her response would be.
Her eyes focused past him and to Kaylee and River studied the young woman intently for a few moments before murmuring, “Too much pain, had to close it away. Remembers it now, in pieces, and it hurts her.” Looking to her brother she told him, “She’ll get better, not like me. She’ll be okay.”
Before Simon could even offer his sister a word of comfort or a thank you, she had retreated back up the ladder leaving him alone with his fiancée. With a weary sigh, he turned back to gaze at her, their argument from earlier in the night completely forgotten. He didn’t care if the next time she awoke she told him to go to hell, he wasn’t going anywhere.
When Kaylee thought of the crew and her family, she didn’t often think in terms of honor or respect. She only thought of love; she loved them and for Kaylee that love transcended the occasionally hurtful thing Jayne might do, or Zoe’s brusque attitude or one of the captain’s ridiculously petty comments. That love for her family was what had saved Simon from a slap during the infamous cow fetus incident and had allowed her to trust River after she’d watched her shoot three men without even looking.
For Kaylee, love was unconditional, given with no strings, no questions asked. And unless someone proved, more than once, that they were undeserving, they got that little piece of her heart.
Simon loved very few people in the ‘verse, in fact, at the moment, he loved two people: River and Kaylee. When he thought of his family and the crew he thought in terms of loyalty and obligation. It was obligation that had kept Jayne safe on his table after his stunt on Ariel, allowed for Mal to chain River up like an animal, and excused Zoe when she had turned a cold shoulder to him after Wash’s death. It was that deep desire of loyalty that had propelled him to rescue his sister, that faithfulness had allowed him to feel regret when Tracey’s death had affected Kaylee.
For Simon, loyalty and love were as unwavering as anything in the ‘verse. If he gave his loyalty it did not falter, it did not fade, until the recipient had proven unworthy of it. But with love, nothing could shake it from his heart; once Simon loved, that was it.
And so he had maintained his vigil at Kaylee’s bedside out of loyalty and love, not sleeping, not moving, only watching her sleep, making sure she was safe. He watched now as she stirred and came to slowly. The sedative he’d administered to her had kept her unconscious for almost ten hours, and Simon was only glad because he knew she needed the rest. Of course, that was the doctor in him talking; the fiancé in him had wanted her to wake up every minute she’d been asleep.
As her eyes blinked open to regard him, Kaylee murmured, “Simon? I feel real sleepy.”
Smiling to her, Simon pushed a stray strand of hair off her face and told her, “I know, bao bei. I had to give you something to help you sleep. It’ll wear off in just a bit.”
Sitting up slowly, Simon helped her and she smiled her thanks to him. “How long was I out?” she asked, rubbing at her eyes and slowly coming around.
“About ten hours.” As her eyes widened at him, he told her, “Don’t worry, the ship’s still running. We managed okay.”
She grinned at him just a bit and then her face fell. Squeezing her hands gently, Simon asked, “Are you all right?”
“I yelled at you,” she admitted softly, still not meeting his gaze. “I was horrible.”
Shrugging, Simon joked, “Ah that was nothing. River used to throw instrument trays at me.”
Kaylee did not laugh at his tease, and while Simon knew it hadn’t been all that funny he had expected a tiny grin from her. “So, the smoother,” she said cautiously, swallowing hard. “That gonna be the only way I can sleep peaceful now?”
Edging a bit closer to her, Simon told her, “No, I don’t think so. I think your mind is still just processing what you went through.” Laying his hand to her cheek, she brought her green eyes to his face and he told her, “That was why I mentioned it to Inara, Kaylee. I thought maybe you could talk with her. She might be able to help you more than I can.”
Taking the hand he’d put to her face in her own, Kaylee insisted, “Ain’t nobody can help me better’n you, Simon. I swear.”
“Then you’ve got to talk to me,” Simon told her, trying to keep the command from his voice, but having little luck. “You haven’t told me anything of what you remember, Kaylee.” As her eyes filled with tears and dropped back to the bedspread, he continued. “I can imagine that the last thing you want to do is talk about it, but not talking about it hasn’t done us any good.” Leaning towards her, he added, “I want you to be better, Kaylee. That’s all. I’m not doing this to hurt you or punish you.”
She nodded once, silent tears falling down her face. “I know,” she murmured. “I know you jus’ want what’s best for me.”
Cupping her chin in his hand, Simon lifted her eyes back to his face and asked her, “If you know that, then why won’t you tell me?” As she still would not answer him, he questioned her, “Do you trust me?”
With impossibly wide eyes, Kaylee held his gaze and then nodded once. “Of course, I do, Simon. It ain’t ‘bout that.” Taking a deep breath, Kaylee tilted her head back and stared at the ceiling. Closing her eyes for a moment, she finally said, “I don’ want you to think I’m weak. I don’t want you to realize that I ain’t worthy of yer heart.”
Sitting back, more than surprised by her statement, Simon whispered, “You really don’t know me at all, do you?”
When she brought a fearful gaze back to his face, Simon knew he needed to explain himself. Scooting closer to her, Simon took her hands and held her gaze for a moment, before he started speaking. “Kaylee, I have never given my heart to someone the way I’ve given it to you. That’s the truth. I love my sister very much, but I am in love with you. I want to be with you every minute of the day. Do you have any idea how much I hate it when we have to get out of bed in the morning?” Kaylee smiled slightly, remembering the few times Simon had mentioned this to her. “I hate it when I have to leave you and sit in my cold infirmary and wait for the hours to pass so I can be with you again.”
“I’ve been trying to pretend that what you went through didn’t affect me, because I wanted to be strong for you, but Kaylee-“ Simon broke off, uncertain if he should admit this to her. Just as she was afraid his opinion of her would change, he was fearful of the same.
Reading his hesitation, Kaylee rested a hand to his face and said, “I’m thinkin’ this truthful thing’s gonna have to go both ways, sweetie.”
Smiling to her, Simon said, “Seeing you in this much pain, it kills me, Kaylee. Not just a little, a lot. It burns in my gut when you’re suffering and I know it may be selfish, but that’s another reason why I want you to talk to me. I need to let go of this as much as you do.” Dropping his eyes to their intertwined hands, he added, “I thought that if I killed Niska it would make me feel better. But almost as soon as we left to go after him, I knew it wouldn’t solve a damn thing.” Looking back to her he said softly, “The only thing that’s going to make me feel better is helping you. So let me, Kaylee, please.”
Kaylee blinked back tears as Simon finished, his eyes locked on hers. Leaning forward she touched their foreheads, and took a few deep breaths, before asking quietly, “What do you wanna know?”
“What do you remember? When you dream?”
“Pain,” Kaylee answered, her voice having long ago lost the brokenness of tears. She and Simon had been talking for hours and she was fairly certain she had cried all she was capable of. “A lot o’ pain.”
“Do you see faces? Hear things?” Simon wasn’t exactly sure how he’d kept his voice steady. The things Kaylee had recounted to him, her actual memories of her time in captivity had chilled him. But as long as she kept talking, he’d keep listening.
“Does my own cryin’ count?” she asked sarcastically, wincing at just the sound of the statement as it passed through her lips. Looking to him sheepishly, she murmured, “Sorry.”
Smiling slightly to her, Simon said quietly, “It’s okay. We can stop if you want.”
Shaking her head, Kaylee took a deep breath and said, “I don’t see faces ‘cause there’s usually a real bright light blindin’ me. And there really ain’t much to hear.” Looking back to him, she said, “When your bones break, does it make a poppin’ noise?”
Swallowing back his disgust, Simon told her, “It can.”
“I ‘member that too then, but I don’t normally dream ‘bout them breakin’ my leg, just kickin’ me some is all.” Kaylee rubbed a light hand along her rib cage, remembering how badly those broken bones had hurt.
Simon watched her closely, knowing they needed to stop. This was too much for her; it was too much for him. Just as he was about to suggest they get some food, Kaylee said in a whisper, “I knew you’d come for me.”
Freezing, Simon looked to her and asked, “What?”
As if remembering he was in the room, Kaylee blinked to him and said, “I knew you’d come. When I was in an’ out of it, I’d think ‘bout you an’ I knew that if you could, you’d rescue me.” Her eyes again blurring and drifting away from him, from this time and place, she added, “Even when I could barely breathe, when I kept passin’ out from the pain, when I-“ Kaylee’s breath hitched in her throat as all the tears she thought she’d cried started to flow again. Dropping her face into her hands, she murmured, “I was so scared I was wrong an’ I’d never see ya again.”
As her shoulders continued to shake with sobs, Simon finally broke his own self-imposed rule to keep his distance. He’d thought it best to try and give her space while she recounted the ordeal, but, at this moment, he was done being a doctor; now he was her lover.
Moving towards her, Simon wedged himself into the corner of her bunk and pulled her to him. She came easily, curling into his lap and Simon held her, his hands rubbing and up down her back soothingly, his lips, close to her ear, whispering words of comfort.
Kaylee’s tears soon dried and she again marveled at the man who held her. Kaylee had been loved before, had had plenty of sexual partners, but she had never had a lover; a person who would do for her because she asked or because it was what she needed; someone who was just as, if not more, concerned with her pleasure, her needs than he was with his own. No one she had ever been with before would have stuck with her through this, Kaylee knew that. Simon was the genuine article.
Minutes passed and then hours and finally Simon asked her, “How do you feel?”
“Tired,” she told him, her statement punctuated by a yawn for good measure. “But a little lighter I guess.”
Pressing a kiss to her hair, Simon told her, “I have an idea.”
Turning to look at him with a wicked grin on her features, Simon caught her meaning and corrected, “No, not that kind of idea.” She giggled and Simon let the sound wash over him before he told her, “Get undressed and lie down on your stomach.”
“Oh, I like this idea,” Kaylee told him, doing as she was told, while Simon scooted off the bed and rifled through their still unpacked bags. By the time he’d found what he needed, Kaylee’s bare body was laid out on the bed, her head resting on her folded arms. Taking a moment to enjoy the sight of her, Simon went back to her side and pressed a kiss to her cheek.
“How about a massage?” he asked her, smiling as her eyes opened and she grinned wide at him.
“For me?” she questioned. “How come?”
“Cause I want to make you feel better,” he explained opening the lotion she’d received as a birthday gift and depositing a fair amount in his hands.
Curling her hand in his shirt, she brought his mouth to hers and told him, “Oh I can think of a whole bunch o’ ways for you to make me feel better,” before she kissed him fiercely.
Pulling back from her, Simon said, “Later. Right now, I want to relax you to the point where you’ll have no choice but to sleep.”
Deciding that did indeed sound like a shiny proposition, Kaylee pouted at him slightly and said, “All right.” As she again laid down and closed her eyes, she murmured, “But I should warn ya, Simon, I ain’t one for-“
Any other statement she was about to profess about her disinterest in massages flew from her head as Simon began to knead his hands into her shoulders. In minutes, she was putty. As he continued to rub and press and massage her, Kaylee finally managed to ask him, “Ai ya, where’d you learn to do that?”
“MedAcad,” he answered quietly, loving the way her muscles loosened at his touch. He had an ulterior motive of course; he hoped that if he got her relaxed enough, she would asleep without dreaming. While he felt a tad guilty for the deception, he really did want her to feel better. He wanted to do for her, something, anything, only for her. She deserved it. “It’s amazing the things they teach you in medical school.”
“Hmmm,” Kaylee murmured, her voice softening as she felt sleep pulling at her. “I’m thinkin’ we’re gonna have to talk ‘bout that sometime.”
“Any time, bao bei,” he whispered into her ear, pressing a kiss to her cheek. “You just sleep now, dong ma?”
She mumbled something else that Simon could not hear before she was out. With a little sigh of relief, Simon finished smoothing the lotion into her skin and then he carefully laid her under the covers before shedding his own clothes and joining her.
As they slept, each held in the tight embrace of their lover, no dreams, no nightmares, no monsters dared enter.
“All right, now, listen up.” Mal’s voice boomed in the cargo bay as he commanded the attention of his crew. Once he was sure he had their undivided attention, except for Kaylee and the doc of course who would not stop making moon eyes at each other, he gave out his orders. “Me, Jayne, Zoe an’ River gonna do the job. Should take us about five hours, give or take. In the meantime, Doc,” Mal paused, waiting for the man to look at him. When he still kept his blue eyes glued to Kaylee’s face, Mal called loudly, “Simon!”
Jumping involuntarily the young couple looked at him, Kaylee’s eyes wide with her ever-present innocence, while Simon at least had the decency to blush. Nodding curtly, Mal muttered, “That’s better. While we’re out, you go get them meds you been pesterin’ me about. An’ don’t spend over what I gave ya, dong ma?”
Simon nodded once, trying to ignore Kaylee as she again sidled up to him, whispering something in his ear that made his face burn a brighter shade of red. Shaking his head at them, Mal turned his attention to his mechanic. “Now, Kaylee, seein’ as how-“
“I’m sorry, Mal, but Kaylee won’t be free this afternoon,” Inara told him, stepping forward with a small smile on her lips.
Turning a dumbfounded expression to the woman he loved, he asked her, “She won’t?” even as Kaylee piped up, “I won’t?”
“No,” Inara said, turning to grin wide at Kaylee before looking back to Mal. With a hint of warning in her tone, she told him, “We’re going shopping.”
Mal’s eyes widened just a bit as he thought of all the ways Inara telling him what his mechanic was going to be doing was wrong. But then he saw her eyes flash and the memory came back; well, of course it wasn’t going to be top of mind, she had been holding a certain sensitive area in thrall at the time she’d made the request. With a sigh, he waved his hand in the direction of the women and muttered, “All righ’ fine. Go shoppin’.”
Kaylee squealed jumping down of the crate she was on and rushing to Inara to hug the woman. As the rest of the crew piled into the mule, Simon said with mock hurt, “Hey.” As Kaylee turned back to him, her eyes still dancing, he pouted, “I thought you were going to come with me.”
Frowning at him, Kaylee told him, “Sorry, sweetie, but shoppin’ for pretties is a lot more fun than shoppin’ for medicines.”
Furrowing his brow at her, but not at all upset she was so happy, Simon grumbled, “I’ll remember that next time you drag me to a junkyard.”
Letting out an exclamation of mock indignation, Kaylee strode towards him her hands on her hips and leaned in close. “You said you had fun,” she reminded him playfully, suppressing a giggle as his shoulders shrugged the tiniest bit.
Leaning in even closer she whispered against his mouth, “Looks like somebody didn’t learn their ‘lesson’ very well – the one ‘bout fibbin’.” Her eyes were sparkling with an even darker light now and Simon had no choice but to wrap his arms around her waist and kiss her.
As they parted, he said against her mouth, “Maybe you’ll have to teach it to me again.”
She giggled, nodded once and then pecked him again on the mouth, before stepping away and threading her arm through Inara’s. The entire crew had watched his exchange with varying degrees of horror and rising levels of nausea and it was River who looked to Mal with imploring eyes and begged, “Go, please.”
Smiling at her, Mal revved the engine, giving a wickedly mischievous grin to Inara before speeding out of the bay. As she watched him go, she gave a little sigh and then turned back to Simon and Kaylee. “Well, let’s go.”
Kaylee stood in front of the mirror in the small dressing room and frowned mightily. This was no fun. She had been so looking forward to a girl’s day out with Inara as it had been quite a long time since they’d done anything like this, but now, as she had tried on a few tops and a couple of dresses, with no luck, she was getting depressed.
“Mei mei? What’s taking you so long?” Inara’s voice called through the thin curtain hanging in the doorway and with another sigh, Kaylee finally gave up and stepped out.
As Inara took in the ill-fitting outfit Kaylee had on, she watched with amusement as the younger woman pointed to her hips and said angrily, “These things are the enemy.”
Covering her mouth with her hand to hide her smile, Inara’s eyes swept up and down her form once more before she said, “Oh, Kaylee, that’s not true. You have a beautiful figure, which I believe a certain doctor is very much enthralled with.”
Kaylee smiled at that remark, the very thought of Simon touching her causing her to shiver slightly. Remembering her annoyance though, she stepped out of the dressing room and motioned to the discarded clothes behind her. “Then why don’t nothin’ fit?”
Smiling to her, Inara stepped into the tiny room and started picking up the pieces Kaylee had chosen. They were all pretty, fairly simple as was Kaylee’s style, and cheap. Inara guessed after having looked at the third tag marked with a red discounted price, that part of Kaylee’s trouble stemmed from trying to buy clothes that were inexpensive. Frugality had its place, but Inara had never felt it had any business in a woman’s wardrobe.
Stepping out, she looked to Kaylee and smiled patiently. “Kaylee, these clothes aren’t made to fit a woman’s body like yours. They’re for girls, teenagers. You need to try something that will show off what you’ve got.”
Regarding her rounded backside in the mirror, Kaylee raised an eyebrow skeptically. “I don’t know, ‘Nara. Shouldn’t I be tryin’ to keep it hidden?”
Laughing at her, Inara squeezed an arm around the girl’s shoulder and told her, “No, mei mei, trust me.” Holding the girl’s gaze in the mirror they stood before, she told her, “Get dressed and we’ll find you something absolutely perfect.”
Her eyes again lighting with excitement, Kaylee asked breathlessly, “Somethin’ that’ll make Simon all bibbledy?”
Smiling to her friend, she pushed her gently towards the curtained room and said, “I’m fairly certain you don’t need any special clothing for that, mei mei, but I’ll see what I can do.”
Kaylee squealed again, a lovely sound that signaled her delight as she stepped back in to change. Leaning against the wall across the way, Inara found her eyes wandering through the rest of the store. It was smallish and did not have the largest or most recent selection of fashions, but for Greenleaf it was as close to a boutique as Inara could find. Not that she minded; sometimes the best diamonds were uncovered in the rough … kind of like Mal.
Thinking of him brought a smile to her face and Inara blushed at the very un-Companion-like expression. Turning her attention back in the direction of her friend, she thought she caught sight of someone staring. But as her eyes again roved out the big glass windows at the front, she saw nothing.
Shaking away the momentary fear, she called, “Kaylee, hurry up!”
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