Where I Belong: Part IV of VI
Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The crew gathers around Simon's bedside. Zoe and Kaylee have an - enlightening conversation.


Author's Notes: Thanks to those who read and commented. Glad you're liking the story so far.

I don't write Zoe very often, so this was a good exercise for me. It's hard to get my head around her mannerisms and how she sounds. So let me know if something is off about her.

Thanks to Mal4Prez for the beta.

Part I can be found:Here

Part II: Here.

Part III: Here

------------- Where I Belong -------------

Part IV

As abruptly as it had begun, the battle ended. But Kaylee didn’t register that bombs no longer fell, she didn’t notice that the ground no longer shook. When her eyes were open, they were fixed on Simon’s face, at his dark lashes which rested against paler than normal cheeks. The tube remained down his throat and the monitor to which it was attached chimed at regular intervals. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she remembered that it was called a ventilator and that it would breathe for Simon until he was able to do so on his own.

Her eyes were dry, her fingers laced through his – cold without constant motion to warm them. She spoke to him as if he had the capability to answer her, hoped that his eyes would just pop open and all would be well again. She tried to joke and smile, but the smile never reached her eyes.

“Starting to smell as ripe as Jayne in here,” Wash quipped playfully as he walked up beside Kaylee. His eyes swept around the room, at the injured and dying that took up all available space.

She couldn’t even muster the effort to smile at his attempt to cheer her up.

“Docs say he’s gonna be fine.”

“I know.”

“Don’t believe ‘em, huh?”

“Hard to, with him lookin’ the way he does.” Kaylee’s fingers absently brushed against Simon’s wrist, carefully avoiding the IV embedded there.

“Getting better,” River said from the other side of the bed. She lifted her head from where it lay on her brother’s arm. “Needs to heal first.”

“Yeah, he’s a right ugly sight,” Jayne said as he stopped beside Wash. “Might just be an improvement over –“

Zoe slapped Jayne’s arm and sent a withering glare in his direction. “Don’t you got things to do?”

Jayne looked around the large room, at the beds lining every available space, and shrugged. “Women are all busy.”

Zoe rolled her eyes.

“Don’t you ever think of anything besides sex?”

Judging by how quick the response came, Jayne didn’t even need to think about the answer. “Nope.”

Kaylee would have smiled if the simple word didn’t bring memories of that night flooding back. She’d gone over every moment, every pant, groan, every hurried, desperate kiss. It was burned into her; branded on her heart.

“Mal needs help on ship,” Zoe said. “How about you go lend him some muscle?”

Jayne grinned slyly but a look from Zoe silenced any retort waiting on his lips. Kaylee was silently grateful for Zoe’s support.

“How about you two go for a walk? I’ll sit with him,” Wash offered. He stood beside Kaylee, eyes bright, like the sliver of a sun’s ray attempting to warm an entire field of wheat. But Kaylee felt like the one stalk it missed.

“No, that’s ok.”

“Wash, take River out to get some flavored ice, I’ll sit with Kaylee.” Zoë’s calm, authoritative tone was in no way demeaning, and Kaylee found herself fleetingly wishing she had that level of understanding with Simon.

River stood and pressed a kiss to her brother’s cheek before joining Wash. Kaylee wondered at her willingness to leave Simon’s side so quickly, but once they were gone, her focus was split on Simon beside her and Zoe’s solid presence standing above her.

“Want to talk about it?”

“What?” Kaylee blinked dumbly.

“What happened before he was hurt.”

Kaylee’s head snapped toward the older woman, eyes wide, mouth parted in an ‘o’ of surprise. “But… how…?”

Zoe pulled over River’s chair and sat down slowly, her gaze soft as she studied Kaylee’s face.

“Heard you yellin’ at him just before the med center was hit,” she said. “Didn’t know anyone was there.” Kaylee knew the comment wouldn’t be a sufficient answer to Zoe’s question, but it was the only thing she could manage to say.

“So what’d he do this time?”

Kaylee shrugged. She wanted to talk about it badly, but – not now. Not with Zoe. Inara, her usual confidant, was gone, and Zoe wouldn’t understand. All of Kaylee’s problems would seem like child’s play in Zoe’s much more mature and worldly eyes. It wouldn’t feel right talking to her about what had happened that night.

But Kaylee badly wanted to. If not now, then when? she asked herself.

She exhaled a defeated sigh, then brought a finger to her lips in remembrance. A wistful smile passed across her face, then disappeared when her eyes fell on Simon again.

“Kissed me,” she finally said.

“Gathered as much.”

“And more.” Kaylee let the implication hang before lifting her eyes to Zoe’s. There was no judgment in the woman’s gaze, only sympathy and, perhaps, a little hint of amusement. But she didn’t speak and Kaylee knew the older woman would wait for her to continue.

She dropped her gaze back to Simon’s pale face. “It was so good, Zoe. Was quick, the first time.” She chuckled lightly, feeling a weight lift from her shoulders as she spoke. “But after… it was –” She trailed off, letting the sense memory flood her body. She didn’t need to describe anymore; she could see that Zoe understood. Again, there was no judgment in her gaze, which set Kaylee even more at ease.

“But then he – after – was like he was ashamed.”

“Did you give him a chance to explain?”

Kaylee cocked her head and raised an eyebrow, at which Zoe chuckled.

“All right, point taken. He’s not so good with the talking.”

“It hurt, Zoe. So bad. I – I wanted to hurt him back. I yelled.” Her gaze lingered on Simon’s face, at the bruises there, at the ventilator helping him breathe. “An’ now all I want is him to open his eyes so I can tell him I’m sorry.”

“Docs say he’ll be fine. You’ll get your chance.”

“I know.”

“Then why you sitting here looking like he’s knockin’ at death’s door?”

Kaylee swallowed thickly, afraid to voice her real fear.

“Afraid he won’t want to continue what was started?”

Kaylee closed her eyes. Zoe knew her better than she thought. But, she shouldn’t be surprised. She was always transparent when it came to Simon and the dark-skinned woman had seen a good deal more of life than she had. “Yeah.”

“Don’t think that’ll be the way of it.”

Kaylee glanced quickly up at Zoe, her eyes wide. “You know somethin’ I don’t?”

Zoe smiled, rested a light hand on Kaylee’s shoulder. “He’s got a lot of responsibility with River. More than a man his age should have to deal with. Don’t mean I ain’t seen him look at you. He’s as easy to read as you are.”

Kaylee shook her head. “Then why ain’t he never –“

“I think you already know the answer to that.”

“River said –“ She gripped his fingers tighter, lifted them to rub her cheek against the back of his hand. “He didn’t want to choose.”

“He’s out of his element in the Black. Weren’t raised to live life out here. He’s scared.”

Kaylee smiled in remembrance as she whispered, “It’s why he’s gotta be so proper. It’s all he’s got now.”

“Not quite all.” Zoe squeezed her shoulder and walked away, leaving Kaylee to her thoughts.

She wasn’t alone for long before an older doctor arrived and began to look over his patient’s chart. She could tell he was harried. He had a lot of patients to see, and they were more than one down with Simon injured. Another doctor had been killed in the entryway collapse.

“I’ve lowered the sedation and am going to remove the tube,” the doctor told her. “He should be fine to breathe on his own now.”

Kaylee swallowed nervously. Her hands clenched together and she nodded, eyes glued to the doctor’s every movement like a bird guarding its chick’s nest. As quickly as the tube had been inserted, it seemed that it came out even quicker.

“We’ll closely monitor him to make sure there are no setbacks. The broken ribs will take a bit more time to heal, but the fusers we’ve given him will hasten that part of his recovery.”

The doctor smiled kindly before writing a few more notes in the chart. After he’d gone, Kaylee lifted her hand to Simon’s face, still bruised a dark purple, even after two days.

“Ya gotta wake up, Simon.”

His eyelids fluttered and Kaylee’s heart quickened, filling with hope that he’d finally open his pretty blue eyes. She had so much to say – things that didn’t involve yelling. And she was positively bursting with the need to tell him.

But it was not to be. His chest rose and fell steadily, the monitor still chiming at regular intervals. So she continued her vigil beside his bed, carefully watching for any sign that he might wake, and remembering the feel of his heart beating against her cheek.

TBC ------------

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


Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:35 AM


Oh, so poignant and lovely. I think it's great that it was Zoe who managed to talk Kaylee "down" as it were. I think that the older woman would understand more than either Kaylee or Simon would give her credit for.

I can't wait until Simon wakes up - angsty goodness, which I know will be masterful when written by your hand!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 7:01 AM


Oooh, I love it. So sad. I really feel for Kaylee, bless her, she tries her best.

Lovely dynamic between her and Zoe. I agree with Tamsibling, I'm sure Zoe understands plenty.

You get into Kaylee's head so well. A pleasure to read, as always.



P.S Admist my mucho revision for tommorows exam, I clicked the refresh button... and saw you'd updated. Needless to say, it made me less inclined to commit suicide. Ta muchly

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 7:20 AM


I thought Zoe was brilliant in this part, just the right way to handle Kaylee at this point without having the girl fall apart with guilt over something in no way her fault. I love that as transparent as Simon is to everyone else Kaylee couldn't see it, jumping to conclusions because he couldn't explain himself better. She'll learn. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:12 AM


Gotta agree with everyone here, this was excellent! and yeah, Zoe digging the information out of Kaylee instead of Inara is a definate plus! Excellent writing, taunt, terse where it ought to be...great work!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:05 PM


Honestly think Zoe was the better choice for the conversation that went on here. Much as Inara's got all kinds of skills and knowledge...her track record with relationships is non-existent. That and I imagine Zoe was there for Kaylee before Inara took up tenancy in Shuttle One; may not have been the same kind of heart-to-hearts, but I can't imagine Zoe letting Kaylee suffer when she could try a kind word;)


Wednesday, May 23, 2007 7:40 PM


I didn't expect Zoe to be the one to comfort Kaylee, I was pleasantly surprised at how good she did.
Bravo, great chapter.


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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.