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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
The aftermath of Kaylee's accident shakes Simon to the core. Eli and Evelyn try to help with Regan and Gabriel and Mal decides that Badger really is a rodent. Simon/Kaylee, Mal/Inara, River/Rafe
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 967 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: Thanks to Leiasky and Kaynara for the beta. Please leave comments - I beg of you!
Hissing softly, Kaylee did her best not to squirm as her daddy patched up her knee.
“Easy there, baby girl,” he told her soothingly, doing his best not to aggravate the cut. “You did a right fine job gettin’ banged up.”
Glancing disparagingly over her shoulder at the regulator she’d been fiddling with, the twelve-year-old muttered petulantly, “Stupid part. I was just tryin’ to brace it so I could work on the innards.”
“Yeah, well, next time how’s about you ask for some help?” Jimmy Frye teased lightly, knowing the likelihood of his little girl admitting she needed aid were about as good as he doing the same. Stepping back, he packed away the first aid kit he always had on hand and told her, “All set. Why don’t you head home an’ help mama with supper?”
Flashing him a look that was one part sympathy and about ten parts angry, she told him sternly, “I ain’t one o’ them girls, daddy. I don’t like cookin’ or cleanin’ or any o’ that other go se. I wanna work on machines.”
“Language,” Jimmy scolded, turning from her to put the kit away so she wouldn’t see the smile of pride that lit his face. That was his good girl. Her brothers had never shown any type of interest in working in his shop, covered in grease and learning the ins and outs of what makes things tick. But not his lil’ Kaylee. She’d taken to this work like a duck to water and it swelled Jimmy’s heart with pride every time she completed a new repair.
Of course, she’d long ago surpassed him in the brains department – his girl wasn’t only gifted, she was powerful smart and gorram beautiful. That smile of hers could light up the darkest night and her big green eyes were always shining with happiness and joy. She was quite literally the apple of James Frye’s eye. He didn’t care if she ever learned to cook or clean, although he knew in about six years, those skills would come in handy when she became a wife.
His features darkening into a scowl as he thought of some worthless hun dan coveting his little girl, Jimmy shook the thought away and then turned back to face her. “Well, all right then, if’n you’re gonna stay we’re gonna do more work.” Glancing about his cluttered shop at their myriad of options he asked her, “What do you want to do next?”
Biting on her lower lip as her eyes roved over the same scene, Kaylee thought about what she most wanted to dismantle. Glancing to a bigger piece of equipment in the corner, she pointed towards it and then looked back to her dad with a wide grin. “I wanna work on an engine.”
Simon had almost been out the door, ready to head home or possibly stop by the orphanage and check on Kaylee when his pager went off. Grimacing he’d answered the call, noting the emergency nature of the code and the oddity of it coming from the actual emergency room. Most trauma patients were brought in through a different intake process.
Rushing downstairs after he’d heard Helen’s hasty explanation of what was going on, Simon did his best to keep his heart out of his throat. Nothing bad could happen to Kaylee, it just couldn’t. He wouldn’t make it without her, he knew that and he cursed himself for letting her leave that morning. He could have at least gone with her.
Shaking the “what ifs” and “should haves” from his mind, he pushed through the double doors to the waiting room and met Helen’s concerned gaze. Rising swiftly, she approached him even as he asked rudely, “Where is she?”
Not answering directly, Helen told him firmly, “Simon, I think there’s something you should know.”
“Where is she, Helen?” Simon was in no mood for games or gossip. He knew Kaylee did not have a very high opinion of the woman and so his own impression of her was not all that flattering. And given everything that had happened in the past twenty-four hours, he was out of patience.
Reading his concern for his fiancée, Helen stepped out of his path and said, “Exam room 4.”
Simon breezed past her, unconcerned with his rude behavior, his thoughts consumed with Kaylee and her condition. Pausing for just a second to compose himself outside the door, Simon took a breath and then stepped inside, his momentary calm shattered when he noted the empty room.
Quickly moving back the way he’d come, Simon poked his head into each open exam room, his anxiety mounting as he continued to come up empty. Reappearing in the waiting room, he did not answer Helen’s unspoken question, but instead moved to the admissions nurse and demanded Kaylee’s chart. She gave it to him without question and he scanned the information expertly.
Helen stepped to his side as he read, her own eyes locked on his tense face. Reaching out a tentative hand to his arm, she called softly, “Simon?”
“How did she get these cuts?” he asked, ignoring her obvious attempt to ask him something. “Did she fall?”
Shaking her head once, the woman told him, “No, she didn’t fall. She was washing dishes and a glass broke. She – she cut herself.”
Squeezing his eyes shut, Simon muttered a curse before slamming the chart closed and thrusting it back to the nurse. “Did you see her leave?” he asked her once he’d managed to take a breath.
Glancing to her colleague just a seat away, they both shook their heads. “No, doctor. We didn’t. She hasn’t been officially discharged. We would have kept her here.”
Another curse welling in his throat, Simon swallowed it back. “Thank you for calling me, Helen. I can take care of Kaylee now.” Stepping around her, he moved to search the hospital, and was only stopped by the noticeable plea in the her voice.
“Simon, there’s something else you should know.”
Pausing, he turned back around and asked impatiently, “What?”
Glancing to her hands and then back to his clouded features, she admitted softly, “I don’t think it was an accident.”
Kaylee’s hand rested lightly against the cool, transparent partition that separated the harshness of a new environment from the tiny, little lives on the other side. Her right hand and arm she held firmly cradled to her chest, the throbbing pain of her cuts starting to become a bit more noticeable as some of the initial medication they’d given her waned.
She had found herself drifting towards the nursery, completely oblivious to the fact that it was her destination until she arrived there, staring at the small pink and blue bundles, tiny little fists stretching over their bonneted heads, small mouths rounding into tiny “o”s as they yawned mightily and then settled back to sleep. They were so little.
A few of the nurses circulating the room had smiled to her as they’d passed close to the window. One had mimed to Kaylee, asking which baby was hers. With a quick shake of the head and a few tears, Kaylee had let her know she was simply admiring and the nurse had gone about her business.
Absently, the hand against the window fell to her stomach and pressed there. If she hadn’t been in that accident, she’d be the size of a house by now, only a few short weeks away from giving birth to her own child, to Simon’s child and the grief of that loss hit her once again, low in her gut.
Shivering slightly with grief, pain and an inexplicable chill, Kaylee took one step back from the window and then another until finally she backed into a chair on the opposite wall and sank into it. Her eyes never wavered from the scene before her. She simply stared.
Eli’s ever-present grin was on in full force as he headed for the lifts. He normally took the opportunity to pass the nursery when he had cause to be on the pediatrics floor; he found that after dealing with what was usually a very dire neonatal case, he needed the reassurance of so many healthy and happy babies.
Giving a small wave to the few nurses he recognized inside, he slowed down, but did not stop as his eyes swept over the tiny, squirming bundles. Releasing a small sigh and wondering if Evelyn had yet pestered Jenna and Rachel this month about making them grandparents, he hurried again for the lifts. If he was to be home in time to greet Simon’s folks, he’d need to finish the rest of his day quickly.
Nodding hello to a passing colleague, Eli caught sight of someone else he thought he recognized. Turning slightly, his eyes widened from surprise to worry as he took in Kaylee’s still and stiff form, sitting rigidly opposite the nursery’s observation window. Taking only another moment to study her, Eli could see her distress based on not only the bandages around her arm, but the absolutely blank look that filled her features.
Grimacing slightly, he went to the nearest wave unit and paged Simon, waiting impatiently for the boy to answer. Once his young face appeared on the screen, Eli felt another pang of regret for the younger man. He was obviously already panicked. “You know she’s here, I take it?” Eli questioned needlessly, risking a glance back in Kaylee’s direction to be sure she hadn’t wandered off.
“Where?” Simon breathed.
If possible, the young doctor’s features paled even more. “I’ll be right there. Stay with her. Please?”
Nodding once, Eli flipped off the comm and returned to Kaylee’s side slowly. Gingerly he sat in a chair next to her, a bit alarmed when she did not acknowledge nor recognize his presence.
“Well, hello there, my dear,” he greeted her fondly, his eyes never leaving her face. “What brings you to this fine establishment?”
“I was lookin’ at the babies,” she whispered. Her eyes never wavered from the scene and Eli worried about the lost tone in her voice.
Deciding to humor her a bit, Eli commented, “Yes, they are something else.” Pausing, he looked to her recently bandaged arm and asked, “What happened here?”
Shrugging, Kaylee murmured, “Got cut.”
Resting a gentle hand to her shoulder, Eli noticed the way she flinched slightly. Removing the touch, he asked quietly, “Kaylee, do you know who I am?”
With an effort, Kaylee pulled her eyes from the nursery window and turned to face him, her neck stiff, her body sore and tired from a lack of sleep and an overload of adrenaline. Her brow furrowing slightly as she studied his kindly face and small smile, she whispered, “Doc Butler?”
Smiling a bit wider, Eli again rested a hand to her shoulder grateful when she didn’t shrug away from him. “Kaylee, Simon told me about what happened.” Her eyes glossed over again at his words and silently the man kicked himself for even bringing it up. But he wanted her to know he understood. “Evelyn and I will do everything we can, all right?”
“Take care of Simon.” The words were barely more than a whisper and it took Eli a moment to connect all the sounds.
Doing his best not to be alarmed, he questioned gently, “No, my dear, I’m afraid that’s your job.” His tone was light, but the sarcasm was apparently lost on the grieving woman. “You’ll be his wife soon and then you’ll take care of each other.”
Shaking her head once, Kaylee answered, “We ain’t gettin’ married.”
Swallowing thickly at the utter despair in her tone, Eli amended, “Well, not tomorrow as planned, but you will soon enough. As soon as they find your family.”
“They ain’t gonna find ‘em.” Kaylee’s voice was stronger now, her conviction on the rise. With green eyes that held the smallest spark now studying him, she continued. “They ain’t gonna find my folks an’ then I’m gonna be an orphan, with no family, no history, no nothin’. Simon don’t deserve that. He shouldn’t o’ ever wanted to marry me in the first place. I can’t even give him a baby.”
Reaching over, Eli took the girl’s uninjured hand in his and tugged on it hard enough to get her attention. Once her sad eyes were on his face, he told her sternly, “Kaylee Frye, you had better listen to me. That young man loves you, more than I think I’ve ever seen anyone love another person. And I know you love him, too. I’ve seen it. Don’t let this tragedy destroy everything the two of you have shared until now.”
Gripping at his sleeve, Kaylee’s eyes filled with tears as she whispered, “What if they don’t find my folks, Eli? What if they’re dead?”
“Kaylee, it isn’t healthy to think that way.” Eli offered her a small smile of reassurance as he moved one of his hands to her cheek. “If your family is anything like you than they have to be the strongest folks I’ve never met. Nothing’s going to keep them from you for long.”
As she smiled wanly at his words and swallowed back a sob, Eli leaned forward and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “I’m so scared, doc,” she murmured as she leaned against his shoulder, releasing a heavy sigh.
Placing a gentle arm around her shoulders, he asked quietly, “Then why did you send Simon away? You know he can’t stand to be apart from you.”
While the statement would normally have made her smile and giggle like a small girl, Kaylee felt more tears come at his words – because she knew they were true. And she knew that her earlier outburst had really hurt the love of her life. “There’s nothin’ he can do,” she answered lamely, sniffing slightly. “I know he wants to try, but-“
“He can help, Kaylee,” Eli reminded her, leaning back slightly to look into her eyes. “You know he can. Something tells me you sent him away because you were afraid.”
Furrowing her brow, Kaylee questioned, “Shen me?”
“You were afraid for Simon to see you so upset. Afraid he’d think less of you.” As her cheeks colored at his more than accurate assessment, Eli offered her a small tease. “Although, I don’t know why. It’s obvious the boy thinks the universe revolves around you.”
“Because it does.”
Both of them turned their heads sharply to see Simon standing just over Eli’s left shoulder. As Kaylee’s eyes filled with more tears at the sight of him and the worry evident all over his face, Simon added quietly, “My universe does anyway.”
A sob she could not contain escaped her lips and Kaylee clamped a hand to her mouth as Eli quickly switched places with Simon. Careful of her injured arm, Simon hugged her tightly, cradling the back of her head in his hand as she buried her face into his neck and cried. Casting a look of thanks and relief to Eli over his shoulder, the older man nodded once and walked away. He was suddenly more than grateful that he’d offered to help with the Tams. Something told him, Kaylee and Simon were going to need some time alone.
“Where are they an’ how can I get them back?”
Mal applied another pound of pressure to Badger’s neck as he ground the little man’s face into his ostentatious desk. Zoe, Jayne and River had already trained their guns on the rest of his goons and so now, he and Mal were conducting some – negotiations.
“I already told you, you ain’t gettin’ ‘em back,” Badger sputtered, having a hard time catching a breath as Mal’s hand crammed his windpipe. In his current position, he wondered just why exactly he kept putting up with Reynolds and all his go se. “You might as well write ‘em off.”
“I ain’t writin’ nobody off, Badger,” Mal told him hotly. Grabbing the man by his collar he hauled him upright and allowed his threatening gaze to burn into his scruffy face. “The deal was, you give us all the info you got. So far, I ain’t heard much of nothin’.”
“Ya ever think I wanna keep you in this ‘verse? Maybe I’m lookin’ out for yer-“
Badger’s statement was cut off with a sickening squelch as Mal tightened his hold on the man’s throat. With his beady eyes growing to twice their normal size, Mal held the man’s face close to his own and whispered vehemently, “You ain’t never looked out for anyone but yerself. I’m thinkin’ your lack o’ cooperation’s got more to do with what you do know than what you don’t.”
Glancing back to Zoe, whose eyes and gun had never wavered from the man on her knees before her, he said, “He was in on it.”
Even as Badger tried to protest and failed, Zoe commented, “I had a feeling, sir.”
“You coulda told me,” Mal whined, hurling Badger around in front of him so he could fully face his second.
“Knew you’d reach the same conclusion on your own.” Zoe’s quipped response made Mal frown mightily, but he let it slide. She did know him just a bit too gorram well.
“So now what?” Jayne asked, his trigger finger just itching for a reason to use Molly, the gun he’d selected for this job. “We gonna kill ‘im?”
Turning his displeased look to Jayne before glancing to River, Mal told him, “No, Jayne. We ain’t gonna kill ‘im. He’s our best lead, unfortunately.” Looking again to River, he hesitated to ask more remembering their words from only a few hours before.
But before he had formed the question, she had offered him an answer. “It’s the only way,” she told him softly, her eyes studying him through her wispy hair as she steadily held a gun on the brute at her feet.
Nodding once, Mal hauled Badger towards the door. “Good ‘nough for me.”
“Evelyn, you have a lovely home,” Regan commented easily, feeling more at rest in this dinner party environment than anywhere else. Taking the offered seat in the parlor, she smiled warmly to their hostess and added, “Some of these art pieces I’ve only seen inside museums.”
Returning the smile, Evelyn answered, “Well, if Eli and I have one weakness it is fine art. He is constantly scouring the cortex and auctions for pieces.”
“Now, now, Evie, don’t tell these people falsehoods. It seems to me you’re normally right at my side, pushing my elbow in the air so I’ll bid.” Eli’s smile was infectious and Gabriel found himself smiling right along with the jovial man as the two fixed the group after dinner drinks. “She’d spend it all if she could,” he confided, husband to husband and was rewarded with a knowing grin.
“Yes, I’ve seen evidence of that myself with Regan,” Gabriel offered, smiling kindly to his wife as the four adults shared a small chuckle at their own marital foibles.
As they sipped their fine brandy, the conversation light, Eli found himself intrigued by all that was not being said. He had told Simon the truth – he and Evelyn both had grown up and now lived in the same world as Simon’s parents. And while most of the Butler money was fairly new, Eli and his family understood the echelon of society they occupied and knew that along with the privilege it afforded them, it also garnered a fair amount of responsibility.
But the fact that none of them had even hinted at either Simon or Kaylee’s troubles all evening was starting to grate on him a bit. With all of their resources, surely there would be more they could do then sit idly by and wait for Captain Reynolds and his crew to report back.
The conversation lulled for a moment and Eli seized the opportunity. “I feel terrible for Simon and Kaylee both,” he said quietly, addressing Gabriel. “They’re both so wonderful, it’s a shame something like this had to happen.”
“Well, Gabriel and I are just beside ourselves,” Regan admitted quickly, glancing to her husband for his agreement. Looking back to their hosts, Regan tilted her head in Evelyn’s direction as if sharing a confidence and told her, “I’m not exactly sure what we’re going to tell people.”
Praying he’d heard wrong, Eli sat forward a bit and asked, “What? I didn’t catch that last.”
Frowning slightly, Simon’s mother looked to Eli and repeated herself, taking the time to elaborate on her precise meaning, which in the end would only incense the doctor more. “Well, the guest list for the wedding reads as a veritable who’s who of Osirian and Sihnonese society.” As Evelyn and Eli found themselves speechless, Regan just barreled ahead, speaking with a nonchalance that chilled their blood. “Can you believe Simon omitted the Wangs and Robinsons from the initial list? I mean, that’s just unheard of.” Regan’s look of disbelief was mirrored in her husband’s face.
Continuing on, the other woman was either unaware of her hosts’ discomfort or immune to it – Eli was having a hard time determining which was worse. “So, of course, when we’re talking about such important people we obviously can’t tell them that the wedding is postponed due to slavers. I mean, who’s ever heard of such a thing?” Snorting softly in disbelief, Regan rolled her eyes before taking another sip of her drink.
It was only after she’d stopped prattling that the room descended into a cold silence that set everyone on edge. Eli had really, really tried in the past six months to give Simon’s parents the benefit of the doubt. He knew how his friend felt about them, knew how much of a struggle their relationship had been, especially given all that had happened in the past three years. But until this moment, when he’d been confronted with their vapidity, Eli had not been fully sympathetic to the younger man.
He was now.
Reaching over to pat his wife’s shoulder as Eli gathered his thoughts, Gabriel assured, “Well, I’m sure Evelyn can help you with that, dear. It won’t be a problem, I’m sure.”
Glancing to her own husband with a look of pure incredulity, Evelyn read the anger in his eyes and sat back, deciding that the coming tirade would be much more effective coming from him.
“That’s what you’re most concerned about?” Eli questioned quietly, doing his best not to lose his temper. Looking between his guests, he let his gaze rest on Regan. “What people will think?”
Unfazed by the veiled judgment, Regan answered with a frank frown. “Well, Eli, Kaylee is sweet and charming, but coming from a rim world with no education and no family name, she was going to be a tough sell already. This little incident is just the icing on the cake, as it were.”
“Incident?” His encounter with Kaylee just a few hours ago still fresh in his mind, Eli felt his anger rising at the woman’s flippant attitude. “You call your future daughter-in-law’s entire family being kidnapped by slavers an incident? Two days before her own wedding?” With wide, searching eyes, he again looked between both Gabriel and Regan, noting the way they had stiffened at his reproachful tone.
“Do you have any idea what Simon and Kaylee have been through? Or how much they love each other?” Evelyn spoke up now, her own voice softer, but her tone no less accusatory. “They are two of the most wonderful people we’ve ever met. And what’s happening now …” Trailing off, Evie felt a small lump rise in her throat. Eli had given her a hurried description of Kaylee’s current state as they had changed for dinner; it broke her heart to know the bright and vibrant young woman was suffering so. “It’s terrible. Yes, having to contact the guests and rescheduling things for the wedding is an inconvenience, but it shouldn’t be your first, second or even third concern.”
Rising, Gabriel decided to put an end to this. “Have we offended you in some way?” Pausing to study his hosts, he added, “We were only trying to convey the awfulness of the situation from our perspective.”
“Are you kidding me?” Eli rose and faced the man, doing his best not to raise his voice. “Lamenting over the annoyance of a few waves is not the worst part of this from anyone’s viewpoint.”
“That’s not your place to say, Eli,” Gabriel countered, going toe to toe with the slightly taller man.
“Well, I didn’t mean …” Regan began stammering now, her spirit sinking as she realized that the kidnapping was going to ruin a perfectly pleasant evening. “It’s just awful anyway you look at it,” she amended, glancing to Evie for a bit of support.
Which the other woman would not give her. Rising to stand beside her husband, Evelyn told them, “It’s late. We can meet on the wedding tomorrow, can’t we?”
Gabriel moved quickly to his wife, offering his hand, which she took as she rose graciously and hurried for the door. She refused to feel shame for her comments, they hadn’t been meant to offend, but she still got the distinct impression they were no longer welcome in the Butler’s home.
“Yes, that’ll be fine,” Regan answered, offering Evelyn a small smile. “Thank you for a lovely evening.”
Gabriel did not even humor them with an acknowledgement of their hospitality, which Eli was perfectly fine with; the man’s words would have only delayed his departure anyway.
Waiting until they had left the parlor, Eli finally let out a heavy sigh and muttered, “I can’t believe I ever defended those people.”
Resting a gentle hand to her husband’s arm, Evelyn tried to ease his guilt. “As a father, you believed you were offering Simon the best counsel.” Glancing back to the exit, she added wistfully, “It’s always hard to believe people like that really exist.”
“No, what’s hard to believe is people like that could have raised a son like Simon,” Eli retorted, still scowling. “They don’t deserve him.”
Smiling warmly, Evelyn stood on her tiptoes and gave her husband a peck on the cheek. “Well, I’m still glad they had him.” As Eli turned a puzzled gaze to her, she added quietly, “Because now you have the son I could never give you.”
Frowning slightly, Eli pulled his wife to him in a fierce hug, making a silent apology for a long dead heartache. “I do love Simon and Kaylee both, but not anymore than I love our own children.” Leaning back slightly to gaze into her still beautiful face, he added, “You know that.”
Smiling, Evelyn teased lightly, “Of course. I just occasionally like to hear you say it.” Stopping his next statement with a kiss, Evelyn waited until they parted to add, “And I would adopt Simon and Kaylee in a heartbeat if they weren’t fully grown adults.”
Chuckling softly, Eli steered his wife towards the stairs, more than ready to turn in and bring an end to this day. “Well,” he murmured, as they slowly ascended to their bedroom. “There is that.”
Up Next: Chapter 10
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 12:07 AM
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 12:19 AM
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 1:46 AM
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 2:23 AM
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 4:41 AM
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 4:58 AM
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 8:04 AM
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