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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
What exactly happened to Kaylee's family? And how will it effect the wedding? Simon/Kaylee, Mal/Inara, River/Rafe
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1221 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: I certainly hope you all like angst! Bwhahaha!
Thanks to Leiasky and Kaynara for the beta and encouragement. And a HUGE thank you to everyone for all the great comments on chapter 5 - keep 'em comin'!
Kaylee finger-combed her hair, humming lightly to herself as she regarded her freshly scrubbed face in the mirror. Leaning in towards the reflective surface, she studied her lips and her cheeks as she murmured giddily, “Mrs. Simon Tam. Doctor and Mrs. Simon Tam. Mrs. Kaylee Tam.”
Releasing another squeal, she sighed and whispered, “Shiny,” before cinching her robe around her waist and exiting the bathroom with a grand flourish. “You ready for some pre-marital-“ Her statement died on her lips as she realized Simon was no longer waiting for her. Disappointed, Kaylee pouted mightily as she wandered into the living room, calling, “Simon? What’s goin’ on?”
He didn’t answer her, which caused a bit of her disappointment to fade into concern. Quickening her pace, a bit afraid that he might have passed out on his way to get a drink or something, she stopped abruptly as she caught sight of him at the wave screen, his posture full of tension as he spoke in a hushed tone to someone she could not see.
Crossing her arms over her chest, she asked softly, “Simon?”
Turning sharply at the sound of her voice, Simon’s eyes held the anxiety she had feared. Looking back to the screen as Kaylee stepped fully into the room and hurried to his side, Simon quickly ended the connection and turned to face her.
“What?” she asked, stepping between his legs, her hands resting on his shoulders. “What is it? What s’matter?”
Placing his hands on her waist, Simon sighed heavily, silently cursing the power sake had over him. This would be so much easier to deal with if a headache wasn’t forming behind his eyes. “Kaylee,” he said patiently, forcing his eyes to hers and instantly regretting it. Those big, trusting eyes could easily render him speechless and they’d just done it again.
“Simon, you’re scarin’ me,” she breathed, her hands clutching at his shoulders as her concern ebbed into fear.
“Bao bei, there’s a chance, a very good chance, that nothing’s wrong,” he told her honestly, moving one of his hands to rest against her cheek. “We won’t really know for sure until the morning.”
“Won’t know what for sure?” Kaylee’s heart started to race as she began to truly panic. “What is it?”
Swallowing hard, Simon rose and gently guided Kaylee to the couch. He knew that regardless of how much or how little information they had, Kaylee would not take this news well, and the last thing he wanted was for her to faint and possibly injure herself.
Once they were seated, Simon took another deep breath and met her gaze steadily. “Kaylee, your parents, I arranged all of their travel plans.”
Nodding once, Kaylee murmured, “I know. They’re comin’ in tomorrow night.”
Smiling softly, Simon admitted, “No, Kaylee. I wanted to – I wanted to surprise you, so I … I made arrangements for them to come in tonight instead.”
Her anxiety giving way to happiness, Kaylee felt a smile turn up the corners of her mouth. Edging closer to him, Kaylee placed a hand over his heart and whispered, “You did? Ya did that for me?”
Taking her hand in his, Simon kissed it and told her, “Yes, but not just your parents. I arranged for your brothers and their wives and most of your aunts and uncles to come. Anyone you’ve ever mentioned you wanted at the wedding.”
Tears forming in the bottom of her big eyes, Kaylee hugged him tightly. “Oh, Simon,” she breathed. “That’s so thoughtful. I can’t believe they’re all gonna …”
As Simon inhaled sharply at her words, Kaylee instantly pulled back, her worried gaze meeting his conflicted one. “Somethin’ happened, din’ it?”
“I’ve already called Mal. We’re going to do everything we can.”
Fisting her hands in his shirt, Kaylee’s voice turned desperate as she felt more fear grip her heart, speeding up her pulse. “Do what? What happened, Simon?”
“Please, Kaylee,” he whispered, cradling her face in his hands. “It’s going to be fine.” Before Kaylee could demand again, he finally admitted, “The transport that your family was set to arrive on, it didn’t land tonight as it was scheduled. No one’s heard from it since it left Persephone about a day ago.”
Kaylee’s head swam as she felt her stomach fall away, her heart racing. Her family, her whole family – they were supposed to be here in just a few hours, supposed to be here to celebrate the most important day of her life and now they were just …
Blinking past tears, she murmured, “Oh God, Simon. It coulda been Reavers. They got hit by Reavers.” Tears fell unbidden from her eyes as the horror of Miranda floated back into her consciousness.
“Kaylee, we don’t know that,” Simon assured, pulling her to him. “If it had been Reavers this close to the core, we would have heard by now. I’m sure it’s just something else. Maybe they’re just off schedule.”
“That ain’t it.” Kaylee’s voice was broken with tears even as she tried to fight them back. She knew it wouldn’t do anyone any good for her to panic, but she couldn’t help it. “You know that ain’t it or you wouldn’t o’ called Mal in the middle of the night.”
Simon’s only response was to hold her tighter, knowing that any other kind of reassurance would be met with more disbelief. Of course that wasn’t it – transports full of civilians did not randomly fall off the grid en route to a central planet like Sihnon. There was an explanation and Simon knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was not a good one.
As Kaylee did her best to control her tears, Simon simply continued to rub circles along her back, trying to soothe her. “Kaylee, let’s get some rest. Mal promised to call if he found out anything tonight.”
“I won't be able to sleep,” she told him hotly, pushing away and wiping at her cheeks. As Simon sat slightly dumbfounded, she rose swiftly and headed for the kitchen, muttering something to herself that Simon could not make out.
He sat still for a moment, listening as the sound of dishes clinking in the sink and running water filled their apartment. Rubbing a hand along the back of his neck, he took a few deep breaths, trying to push away his own guilt at his part in all of this and thinking of what Kaylee needed from him. He could only guess how upset she was; he couldn’t sit by and watch her suffer.
Rising slowly, Simon steeled himself, knowing Kaylee would need all of his strength, at least until they found out for sure what had happened. Rounding the corner into the kitchen, he stopped short at the sight before him.
Kaylee was leaning heavily on the edge of the sink, her body hunched over, her shoulders shaking slightly as she cried silent tears. Unaware of his presence, she sank to her knees, her legs no longer able to support her.
Rushing to her side, Simon caught her in his arms, easily holding her up. “It’s bad, Simon,” she wailed. “I know it is. They’re dead, ain’t they?”
“Shh, Kaylee.” Simon smoothed her hair back from her face, swinging her up into his arms in one swift motion. “We don’t know that, bao bei. We don’t know anything. We just have to wait to hear from Mal.”
Crying softly against his shoulder, Kaylee hugged her arms around his neck, holding tight. Pressing a kiss to her forehead, he walked them back to the bedroom, placing Kaylee under the covers, before retrieving a smoother from the bathroom.
Returning to her side, Simon quickly administered the drug, even as she protested. Smoothing his hand through her hair, Simon told her, “Kaylee, you need rest. It won’t do you any good to exhaust yourself.” Pressing a kiss to her forehead, he whispered, “You have to get plenty of sleep before the wedding.”
“The weddin’,” she sniffed, her voice barely more than a whisper as the strong medicine took effect. Within another second, her long eyelashes had fluttered closed against her cheeks and Simon felt a heavy breath of release rush forth from his lungs.
Unable to sleep and unwilling to self-medicate, Simon found himself lying awake beside her, waiting for Mal to call.
River awoke in a panic, panting as fear and pain gripped her heart. Wrapping her arms around herself, she rocked back and forth a bit, trying to clear the confusion from her mind so she could find the root of it. Muttering under her breath, her hair swinging back and forth across her face and shoulders, she jumped slightly as she felt a light hand on her arm.
Rafe was propped up on one elbow, regarding her with concerned eyes. “What is it, Riv?” he asked softly, his voice still thick with sleep.
Meeting his gaze, River blinked back tears and whispered, “Kaylee.”
Before Rafe could inquire further, he heard the sound of a knock on their hotel room door. Knowing now that whatever had awoken River was much more than just a nightmare, he hurried out of bed, pulling on a t-shirt as he headed to answer it.
Greeting Mal and Zoe, both of them looking remarkably awake for the time of night, Rafe said quickly, “Cap’n, Zoe,” before ushering them inside and closing the door. Turning to call for River, Rafe stopped abruptly as he nearly ran into her. “Ai ren, what’re you-“
“Have to see Badger,” River interrupted, her gaze focused on Mal. “He can get answers.”
Dropping his chin to his chest, Mal released a string of Mandarin that caused Zoe to avert her gaze. “Somehow I knew you was gonna say that.” Bringing his eyes up to study River, Mal told her earnestly, “Look, lil’ one, Kaylee’s frettin’ somethin’ fierce. Is there anythin’ you can tell her, help ease her mind?”
River’s eyes came over all distant and Rafe got the distinct impression that she had suddenly transported herself halfway across the ‘verse.
Shivering violently after a minute, River’s eyes pooled with tears as she shook her head. “There’s nothing. I can’t.”
Laying a hand on her shoulder, Mal told her softly, “It’s okay, albatross, not to fret.” Glancing to Rafe, the younger man got the hint and he moved quickly to River’s side wrapping an arm around her waist even as she stiffened slightly in his hold.
Satisfied that River would be taken care of, Mal looked to Zoe and told her curtly, “Guess we got us a weasel to call.”
Frowning as she followed him out of the room, Zoe asked, “Ain’t that a badger, sir?”
Flattening his lips into a thin line, Mal muttered dryly, “Don’t really matter. They’re both rodents.”
“Reynolds? You got any idea what the ‘ell time it is?”
Badger looked none to pleased, which brought Mal just a touch of pleasure. His expression impassive, Mal commented, “Oh, c’mon, Badge. I think it’s time to admit defeat on the whole beauty sleep concept.”
Scowling, the man tipped his bowler – why the hell was he wearing that thing in the middle of the night anyway? – and threatened, “You gonna insult me I could jus’ get back to it.”
“Now, now, hold on there,” Mal tried to placate, holding up a hand. Taking a deep breath, he tried to rein in his impatience with the excrement on the screen before him. “Look, I did call for a purpose an’ it’s a bit of an important one.”
“Oh well, if it’s fer helpin’ my fellow man,” Badger said, spreading his arms in a grandiose gesture. “By all means.”
“A transport went missin’, ‘bout seven hours ago. It originated on Harvest an’ had a stop off on Persephone, bout a day ago.”
Leaning towards the screen, Mal did his best not to recoil as Badger’s less-than-attractive features were magnified. “What’s it to you? Last time I checked, you were pretty below board, Reynolds. Can’t ‘magine a lowdown criminal like yourself would be needin’ folks on a registered transport.”
Frowning, Mal bit his tongue in an effort not to curse the man from Sihnon to the outer rim. “How ‘bout we keep the whats and whyfores to ourselves, an’ you jus’ find my gorram transport?”
“No need to be tetchy, Capt’n.” Badger sat back in his chair, his hands clasped before him, his posture straight as if these few gestures could fool anyone, especially Mal, into thinking he was at all respectable. Glancing off screen for a moment, Badger nodded at some unseen colleague and then readdressed Mal. “Could be I can find somethin’ for you. O’ course, it’s gonna cost. Can’t be peddlin’ that kind of information for nothin’. Man’s gotta live.”
“Yeah, a man,” Mal snorted derisively, shaking his head. Zoe’s almost imperceptible clearing of her throat signaled to Mal that he was still walking a fine line between alienating and enlisting the man. Forcing his face into a blank expression, Mal told him, “What’s yer price, Badger?”
Knowing he was gaping like a fish, Mal stammered, “Ten thousand? Are you crazy? Where we gonna get that kind o’ coin?”
“Well that ain’t quite my problem now, is it?” Sitting back and smiling ingratiatingly, Badger told him, “Tick tock, cap. Cases like this, time’s somethin’ you can’t afford to be wastin’.”
“Right, time. Thanks Badger, so great to see ya,” Mal muttered before flicking off the wave with an angry grunt. “Unbelievable,” he shouted, slamming his fist against the console.
“Sir, we can get the money,” Zoe reminded him, not surprised when he looked to her with blazing blue eyes.
“Really, Zo? From where? The gorram tooth fairy?” Mal stalked off in a huff, heading off the bridge and towards the cargo bay. They’d come back to the ship to make the wave, uncertain whether or not the hotel’s cortex links could be trusted.
Falling into step behind him, Zoe told him, “No, from Simon. In case you missed it, the doc’s making some pretty decent money at the moment.”
Pausing in mid-step for only a second, Mal was glad Zoe could not see the look of hurt pride that flashed across his face. If there was one thing Mal Reynolds was not it was a beggar. Regardless that he’d be asking for money to help Kaylee, Simon’s soon-to-be wife, the thought of asking the boy at all turned his stomach.
“Yeah,” he murmured, quickening his pace down the stairs. “Money.”
It was very early when Simon was awakened from his restless sleep by the chime of their front door. Glancing over quickly to Kaylee, he released a breath of relief as she stirred slightly, but did not wake. The longer she slept, the better he’d feel.
Rolling out of bed, he was painfully aware of his rumpled appearance, having not even changed out of his dress clothes from the night before. Running a hand through his hair, he answered the door, hoping it was someone with good news.
“Inara,” he said, inviting her in. She moved inside in her usual graceful way, gesturing with the basket she held.
“I brought breakfast. I thought you and Kaylee should eat something.” Inara glanced about the apartment and asked, “Where is Kaylee?”
Blushing slightly, Simon moved past her and headed to the kitchen, his friend following. “I gave her a smoother last night. I wanted to be sure she got some sleep.”
“Ah,” Inara said softly, moving about the familiar space as Simon seemed to have lost any energy the minute he’d entered the room. Setting down the food, she began to unpack it and added, “It was probably the right thing to do, Simon.” Glancing to his haggard appearance, she smiled softly and said, “You were only doing what’s best for her.”
“I hope she realizes that when she wakes up,” Simon muttered, his eyes intently studying the tabletop. Shaking his guilt away, he looked to Inara as she brought him a steaming cup of coffee. “Have you heard anything from Mal?”
Shaking her head, she told him, “No, not since he and Zoe left River. She mentioned something about Badger.”
“Wo de ma he ta de feng kuang de wai sheng dou,” Simon muttered fiercely. “You’ve got to be kidding? Badger?”
Sharing his opinion of the shady little man, Inara told him, “Yes, Badger. Apparently, River said he might have answers.”
Pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, Simon murmured, “River. I should probably-“
“Rafe is with her.” Inara’s quiet statement struck him deeper than he’d expected and Simon looked to her sharply as she placed a plate of fresh fruit before him before taking a seat. “She’ll be fine, Simon. I’m sure they’ll be by in just a bit.”
Taking a sip of his coffee, Simon smiled into his mug. “I guess I have to get used to no longer being the most important man in her life.”
Squeezing his hand, Inara smiled and said, “It had to happen sometime.”
The sound of the door interrupted his next comment and Simon stiffened even as Inara hurried to answer it. Following her out to the living room, Simon rushed to Mal as the older man appeared from the entryway. “Well?” he demanded, his tone harsher than he’d intended.
Holding up a hand, Mal told him, “Easy there, son. Badger might know somethin’, but he ain’t gonna tell us nothin’ without some coin.”
Frowning, Simon commented dryly, “You’re kidding? How much does he want?”
“Ten thousand,” Mal said, trying to hide his grimace.
“Done.” Simon’s answer was so sure, so immediate it caused Mal to pause for a moment. Watching as Simon crossed his arms over his chest, Mal stuttered, “Well, all right then.”
Glancing to the wave screen behind them, Simon ordered, “Make the call.” Looking over his shoulder in the direction he knew Kaylee to be, Simon looked back to Mal and told him, “We have to know something before Kaylee wakes up.”
Placing a heavy hand to the younger man’s shoulder, Mal held his gaze steadily and told him, “Look, Simon, Kaylee’s my family too, dong ma? Whatever I can do, I’m gonna do it.”
Offering the man a small smile, Simon acknowledged, “I know and I appreciate it.”
As Mal moved to call Badger back, the door rang again and Zoe answered it, allowing Rafe and River into the room, Jayne following a few minutes later. River rushed into Simon’s arms, hugging him tightly. “It’ll be okay, Simon.”
“You don’t know that, mei mei,” Simon countered, looking into her eyes. “I can tell by the fear in your eyes.”
Ducking her head, River felt a small blush creep up her cheeks. “You and the captain are the only ones who can tell when I’m faking.”
Sighing softly, Simon admitted, “Well, that’s actually a bit of a comfort. I’m glad Rafe doesn’t know all your secrets.”
Pouting slightly, River met his gaze with pleading eyes. “Not now, Simon, please?”
Kissing her on the cheek, Simon nodded. “You’re right. I promise to give him a chance though.”
Turning sharply at the sound of Kaylee’s soft voice, Simon moved to her side in a second, his arm around her shoulders as she lazily rubbed sleep from her eyes. He knew the aftereffects of the smoother could delay her alertness. “What’s happenin’?”
“We’ve got a lead, bao bei,” Simon told her, guiding her to the couch. Inara met his gaze over Kaylee’s head and he nodded once, knowing the older woman had understood the silent communication as she moved to the kitchen to get some food. As they settled onto the sofa, Simon brushed her hair behind her ear and told her, “We’ve got to be patient and wait until we have more news.”
As recognition returned, Kaylee bit her lip, looking to each of her family, already gathered so early in the morning, conveying obvious concern for her. Immediate tears welling in her eyes, she clutched Simon’s hand tightly and breathed, “How long?”
Looking helplessly to Mal, Simon silently pleaded the man to give her an answer. Stepping forward, Mal sat on the other side of Kaylee and said quietly, “A few hours, mei mei. Things like this take some time.”
“They ain’t dead, is they, cap?” Kaylee’s shaky voice also held a small sliver of hope and the sound broke Mal’s heart. “We’d know right, if’n they was dead?”
“Yeah, mei mei,” Mal said softly, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and pulling her to his chest. Kaylee sighed and relaxed against him for just a moment, her hand still firmly wrapped in Simon’s. “We’d know.”
The room was still and quiet, until the sound of the door chime interrupted the silence. Glancing about the room, even as Zoe moved to answer the door, Simon asked, “Who could that be? We’re all here.”
Glancing to the first mate as she reentered the room, Simon’s face fell, his skin paling to an unnatural hue as their new visitors came into view. “Mother?”
“Simon, dear.” Regan swept in, Gabriel following closely behind and moved to her son. Rising on unsteady feet, Simon hugged the woman absentmindedly, as his mother greeted him. “Oh, it’s so wonderful to see you.” Glancing about the room as she stepped back from him, Regan stated evenly, “Good to see all of you, actually.” Looking back to Simon, she asked, “Isn’t it a bit early for brunch?”
“I, ahh …” Simon’s mouth was suddenly dry. He wondered how many other things might go wrong in the next day or so and then realized thoughts like that could only lead to more trouble. “We’re-“
“Kaylee? Darling?” Ignoring her inarticulate son, Regan stepped past him and sat beside Kaylee who was staring at she and Gabriel both with a vacant expression. “Are you feeling all right, dear?” Pressing a hand to her forehead and checking for a fever, Regan added, “You don’t look well.” Shifting her eyes back to her son, she stated, “In fact, both of you look a little worse for wear.”
Frowning, Simon muttered, “Thank you, mother.” Moving towards her, he took her by the elbow and tugged her, none to gently, to her feet. “Can I talk with you for a moment?”
“Simon,” Regan scolded softly, moving with him towards the balcony as he headed determinedly in that direction. River followed him with their father, and the family did their best to ignore the uncomfortable looks of the crew.
Once they were safely outside, Simon faced his parents and said without ceremony, “You’re early.”
Crossing his arms over his chest, Gabriel ignored the comment and asked, “What’s going on, Simon? Something’s happened.”
Releasing a heavy sigh, Simon admitted, “The transport carrying Kaylee’s entire family disappeared last night. We’re trying to figure out what went wrong.”
“Oh Simon.” Regan’s hand flew to her mouth, her eyes filling with fear and compassion at this revelation. “How is that possible?”
“We don’t know, mother.” Simon already felt his body flagging under the added strain of having to entertain his parents. He had after all only gotten a few hours of sleep.
“We have just as many questions,” River interjected, stepping forward and addressing her parents. “We’re doing all we can to answer them. This is obviously very stressful for Kaylee and Simon both.”
“Of course it is,” Regan empathized. Moving past Simon, Regan headed inside while murmuring, “That poor girl.”
Sharing a worried look, the Tam siblings hurried after her, hoping to intercept her before their mother stuck her nose somewhere it didn’t belong. “Mother, please,” Simon begged, as he managed to insert himself in her path. “Neither Kaylee nor I got a lot of sleep last night. And we just …” Looking to Kaylee’s pained face as Inara tried to coax her into eating, Simon gazed back to his mother and pleaded, “Please give us some space.”
Holding her son’s gaze, Regan told him, “Simon, I promise not to meddle, but we need to make some decisions, darling. The wedding is scheduled for less than twenty-four hours from now. If we’re going to cancel, we need to get the word out as soon as possible.”
“Mother, most people are not even awake yet,” River reminded her. Waiting until her mother pulled her gaze from Simon, she added, “We have a bit of time.”
Sighing, Regan nodded, “I suppose you’re right.” Looking to Gabriel, she asked him quietly, “Is there anything we can do?”
“Why don’t I talk with the captain for a bit and you can see if these fine folks need anything to eat?” Gabriel’s calm demeanor and immediate plan of action seemed to help calm both Regan and Simon.
Smiling softly, River took her mother’s arm and guided her towards the kitchen, while Gabriel moved to speak with Mal. As the captain vacated his seat next to Kaylee on the couch, Simon sat back beside her, his arm around her shoulders. Curling into him, Kaylee murmured, “What’re we gonna do ‘bout all them people comin’ to the weddin’? We can’t just –“
“Shh, Kaylee, it’ll be all right.” Simon pressed a kiss into her hair and added, “We’ll figure it out once we have some news, okay?”
Nodding slightly, Kaylee cuddled into him and released a heavy sigh, tuning out the sounds of light conversation around her so she could focus solely on not losing her mind.
Up Next: Chapter 7
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 7:52 PM
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 8:03 PM
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 9:30 PM
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 10:16 PM
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:24 PM
Thursday, May 24, 2007 3:40 AM
Thursday, May 24, 2007 5:03 AM
Friday, May 25, 2007 7:18 AM
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