Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Follows on from The Most Important Job. Simon gave up everything for his little sister, and this is the thanks he gets? Simon finds that it’s hard to be a good boyfriend when looking after your crazy little sister is your main job. S/K Fluffy little opening chapter, with a healthy dollop of angst.


Job Satisfaction

A/N: Well here it is at last. This follows on from The Most Important Job , though it’s not necessary for you to have read that, I suppose. This will be in ten parts, plus epilogue, and I’ll try to post pretty often. Hope this goes down well, as I’ve already began planning the sequel. And big thanks to my beta Mavourneen! Anyway, enjoy! And please, please comment : )

***** To see translations, hover mouse over Chinese word.*****

Chapter One – They’re Coming.

Kaylee blew her hair out of her eyes with a certain vehemence not usually associated with the action. She was frustrated. Kaylee Frye was not used to frustration. When things didn’t go her way she generally smiled, shrugged, and silently reminded herself to have faith. Sooner or later, things managed to work out.

Take Simon for example. He’d been on Serenity nearly a year before he’d finally made his move. A week had passed, and Kaylee had been so caught up in being with Simon Tam that it never occurred to her to be frustrated that they hadn’t yet actually been with each other.

But everyone had their limits, and being interrupted moments before they finally consummated their relationship by Simon’s ever so sweet but ever so deranged sister, had pushed Kaylee to hers.

“Okay, let’s try this one more time,” Kaylee said, nodding to River to sit down. The younger girl obliged, settling herself on Inara’s bed. The companion herself pressed her lips together to stifle her amusement.

“Okay,” Kaylee repeated, kneeling before the girl “River. You know me an’ Simon have got a lot closer this past week? Since we visited my ma n’ pa?”

River nodded. “You’ve commenced in a non-platonic relationship based on primal urges.”

Kaylee blinked.

“It’s your hormones,” River elaborated.

With a sigh, Kaylee bit her lip. She reached out and took River’s hands. “River, when you walked into Simon’s bunk just now, d’ya understand what was happenin’?”

“You were going to have sex.”


“With my brother.” River looked utterly disgusted.

Kaylee grimaced sympathetically. “That’s right.”

River looked sideways at Inara. “Ew.”

“It’s not ‘ew’, River,” the companion interceded. “It’s something two people do when they care a great deal about each other…”

“… or if they’re getting paid, whichever comes first.”

The three women turned to look at Mal who had just entered the shuttle.

“Captain!” Kaylee exclaimed, nodding meaningfully towards River.

“Excuse me, Captain, but we’re having a private discussion,” Inara said sweetly.

“Right, you’re teaching the mentally unstable under-aged girl about sex. I’m sure Simon would be thrilled if he knew,” Mal retorted.

“He does know. He looked positively relieved when we offered.”

“Did he?” Mal looked over at River. “Well, s’pose it can’t be all that appealing, explaining the… er… ins and outs to your little baby sister.”

River stared evenly at him. “I understand the logistics of fornication…”

“We’re just explainin’ boundaries to River,” Kaylee cut in quickly, “an’ the issue of … privacy.”

“Or we were, before we were so rudely interrupted,” Inara added. “How exactly can I help you?”

“Well, I’m sure you can come up with a manner of ways, that is your job after all,” Mal answered. He reached out to touch a decorative fan adorning the shuttle wall, and Inara slapped his hand away.

“If you have no purpose here, please get out of my shuttle,” she said coldly.

“It’s my shuttle,” Mal snapped.

Kaylee looked across at River, rolling her eyes, but River wasn’t paying attention. Her hands were clenched tightly into fists and she appeared to be shaking.

“River?” Kaylee said cautiously.

Inara, who had been about to snap back at Mal, stopped short, and the pair turned to follow Kaylee’s gaze.

“What’s wrong with her?” Inara asked, concerned.

“She’s crazy, is what,” Mal said, sounding frustrated.

River began to rock back and forth, muttering furiously under her breath. Kaylee pulled the girl into an embrace, and looked up at Mal over her shoulder.

“Get Simon,” she mouthed, and the captain, sighing, stalked reluctantly out of the shuttle.

“River?” Kaylee tried again. “What’s wrong, sweetie?”

“Coming,” River muttered, becoming more and more audible. “Coming closer all smiles and open arms and ears covered, won’t listen, never want to listen.”

“River, who’s coming, who won’t listen?” Inara asked, sitting beside her and taking her hand.

“They are!” River was practically screaming now. “They’re coming!”

Tears were pouring down her face as Kaylee pulled her in closer. “Shh,” she murmured, rubbing her back gently. “It’s okay… no one’s coming… no one’s gonna hurt you…”


Kaylee looked up with relief to see Simon standing in the shuttle doorway. Beside her, however, River appeared to become even more panicked at the sight of her brother.

“Simon, they’re coming… they want to take us away!” She gasped, trying to tear away from Kaylee’s grip. Simon rushed over, concern clouding his features. Kaylee moved aside and watched with admiration as Simon wrapped his strong arms around his little sister and rocked her gently.

“It’s okay, mei mei…” he whispered, his voice betraying his anxiety. “No one’s going to take us anywhere.”

“They are,” River sobbed, shaking uncontrollably in her brothers arms. “They will…”

Over his sister’s shoulder, Simon’s eyes met Kaylee’s, and she felt a pang of helplessness. It had always been this way when River became upset, wishing she could help but not knowing how, but now she and Simon were hashing out a relationship she felt even more guilty for not being able to wipe away his desperation and fatigue.

She smiled bravely at him, and slipped one of her hands into his. He squeezed it gently in thanks, and she thought she saw in his eyes a little of the weight lifting. It wasn’t much, but it was all she could do, and if it helped, then that was all that mattered.

“Listen, Simon,” River was gasping. “You have to listen to me…”

“I am,” Simon soothed, “I am listening, mei mei.”

“They’ll be here soon… they’ll want to take us home.”

Simon pulled away from her in surprise, and Kaylee’s hand slipped from his. She shuffled closer.

“Home?” Simon asked, turning Rivers face to his. “You’re talking about mom and dad?”

River pressed her eyes shut, tears leaking through her lashes. “I don’t want to go home, Simon.” She opened her eyes, and they were filled with a clarity Kaylee rarely saw. “I want Serenity to be our home.”

Simon seemed unable to speak, but Kaylee ran her fingers gently through the girl’s hair, and smiled.

“Serenity is your home, sweetie,” she told her sincerely.

River seemed comforted marginally by this. Slumping, as if from exhaustion, her eyes fluttered closed once more. “I want to sleep, Simon. Make me sleep.”

Without another word, Simon scooped her up easily in his arms and got to his feet.

Inara, who had retreated from the commotion, stepped forward. “She can stay here, Simon.” She gestured towards the bed. “I don’t mind at all.”

Simon looked torn. “I don’t know … she can be quite a handful…” He glanced down guiltily as he spoke, but River seemed to be barely awake.

“Precisely the reason you should have a break.” Inara pressed. “I can watch her, and when she wakes I’ll come and find you.”

Simon nodded gratefully and deposited River on the bed. He turned to retrieve his medbag from where he’d dropped it at the shuttle’s entrance, only to find Kaylee behind him holding out a syringe. He took it gratefully and carefully injected River, stroking her hair as she fell into a fitful slumber.

“Come on,” Kaylee said softly, taking his hand and guiding him from the shuttle, picking up his medbag for him as she did.

Jayne was working out below them in the cargo bay, and as Kaylee doubted Simon would be in the mood for a Jayne-esque jab about his ‘moon-brained sister pitchin’ another fit,’ she led him instead up to her bunk. It wasn’t until the hatch was closed above them that he spoke, slumping against the ladder in exhaustion.

“What a day.”

She smiled hesitantly. “It wasn’t all bad,” she said, thinking back to the fun they’d managed to have before River had burst in on them.

Simon looked at her sceptically, but he couldn’t resist returning her smile.

“Thank you,” he said sincerely, reaching out and pulling her to him.

“For what?” she asked, wrapping her arms around his shoulders.

He closed his eyes, leaning into her warmth. “For everything. For being you. I just … I don’t know how I got by before this.” His eyes met hers. “Before you.”

She pressed a gentle kiss to his lips. “I’ve always been here, honey.”

He chuckled, somewhat reluctantly. “Yes. Unfortunately, I haven’t.”

Kaylee brushed a strand of hair from his eyes. He looked exhausted.

“Come on, honey, you need to lie down,” she said, pulling him gently to the bed. He put up no resistance as she curled up amongst her cushions and tugged him down to join her. He closed his eyes as she draped her arm over him and tucked her face into his chest. She sighed happily and as he felt the tension gradually leaving him, he buried his own face in her hair, inhaling her comforting scent, and allowed sleep to take over.


Simon woke to find they were in exactly the same position. Unsure of whether minutes or hours had passed, he struggled into a sitting position, wishing he could have stayed pressed against her warm form forever.

Kaylee moaned in protest, her eyes flickering open. “Simon?”

“Right here,” he replied, leaning over to check the time. They had been asleep little under an hour, which meant River would hopefully still be out.

Kaylee propped herself up on her elbow, looking adorably mussed up, and Simon couldn’t resist leaning in for a kiss.

“I should probably go and check on River,” he murmured.

She smiled wickedly at him. “Oh, come on Simon, would you rather get yourself all worried about River, or let me take your mind of things?”

Her teasing voice hit Simon straight in the groin. “Well, we do have some unfinished business, now that you mention it…”

She giggled softly as he pulled her face to his. “Exactly,” she breathed.

But as their lips met, the image of River writhing on the floor of Inara’s shuttle flashed before Simon’s eyes. He pulled away reluctantly, sighing heavily.

Kaylee’s eyes were wide. “What?”

Simon chewed his lip. “It’s just…” he began apologetically, “River’s episode seemed worse than usual. I really thought she was getting better, but… I should probably go get some medication ready for when she wakes up. Maybe run some tests.”

If Kaylee was annoyed it didn’t show. She smiled sympathetically and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “That’s fine, sweetie. Anythin’ I can do to help?”

Simon shook his head. “You’ve done enough,” he told her, squeezing her hand, relieved she didn’t appear to be hurt or angry. “I needed this, really. Thank you.”

Her smile lightened his heart somewhat. “Anytime, Simon.”

She flopped back on the bed as he got to his feet, shooting her one last longing look. Wondering if he was making a huge mistake, he headed up the ladder, leaving her curled up on her bunk alone.


“River, please!” Simon cried, pushing her firmly back on to the bed. “I need you to stay still.” He yelled the last word particularly forcibly, and River stilled for a moment, blinking at him. The guilt of raising his voice at her washed over him as she gaped at him.

Back at the hospital, Simon had been known for his seemingly endless supply of patience. Even Mal had made note, back during those horrible first few months when River had been pitching fits every other day, that Simon never raised his voice or lost patience with the girl. With crew members, sure, but not with his ailing sister.

Still, even Simon had a limit. And right now, River was pushing it. This wasn’t like those first few months. Back then, he’d medicate her, and when she awoke she would be nearer to normal again, for a short period at least. Now, River had slept off her third sedative of the day, and every moment she had been awake she had rocked with varying degrees of vehemence, muttering the same words over and over again.

“They’re coming…. They’re coming…”

The shock at her brother’s harsh tone had apparently worn off, for even as Simon raised the syringe in his hand to her arm, she wrapped it around her knees and began to rock once more.

“They’re coming…”

Pressing his lips firmly together, Simon pulled her arm out firmly. She didn’t resist, but the look she sent him suggested he was betraying her in some way.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I’m trying to help you…”

The girl’s eyes rolled back in her head, as the newest sedative kicked in. “They’re… coming…” she whispered jerkily.

“I’m sorry,” Simon said again, to no one in particular.

A warm hand appeared on his shoulder, and he didn’t have the energy to jump.

“You look like you could do with another nap,” Kaylee said softly.

Simon trained his gaze on her, wondering how she could still be looking out for him.

“Why aren’t you mad at me?” he asked without thinking.

Kaylee cocked an eyebrow at him. “Should I be?”

“It’s just…” Simon lowered his eyes sheepishly. “I’ve been in here all day…”

“An’ half the night,” Kaylee added, only sounding half amused.

Simon sighed. “I just don’t know what to do,” he despaired.

Kaylee draped her hands around his neck pulling him in for a kiss, and he sighed happily despite himself as they embraced.

“I understand, sweetie,” Kaylee told him quietly, her breath warm against his ear. “Quit worryin’ about me. We gotta concentrate on gettin’ River better.”

He smiled up at her. “We?”

She nodded. “We. But first, you gotta sleep.” She tugged him out of the chair and settled there herself. “I’ll watch over River. Go on.”

With one last weak smile, he kissed her lips gently. “I’ll make it up to you,” he murmured against her.

Kaylee smiled. “Don’t fret ‘bout it.”


Simon awoke to the insistent knocking of Shepherd Book, who informed him that the entire crew were gathered in the common area. Quickly shrugging on some clothes, Simon followed Book, feeling simultaneously apprehensive and hopeful. While he could think of no reason to back his faith, he couldn’t help but feel that the captain would have a, if not the, solution.

Kaylee was standing in the doorway of the infirmary so she could keep an eye on River while listening to the conversation. She smiled at him as he came to stand beside her.

“I made him let you sleep as long as possible,” she informed him quietly.

“Yeah, I’m sure the whole verse’s problems could be solved if’n the doc gets himself thirty winks,” Jayne said, disgruntled. He was sitting sharpening a knife and looking like he’d rather be elsewhere.

Wash rolled his eyes. “It’s forty winks, you moron,” he said, but even his joking was half-hearted. Simon noticed that everyone looked tired, and felt guilty once more.

Bizui,” Mal said “We have a problem that needs solvin’, and it won’t get done by bickerin’, dong ma?”

“Right,” Jayne agree, shooting Simon an angry look, “Anyone else spottin’ a pattern as to who seems to be causin’ all our problems?”

Simon shifted angrily. “None of this is River’s fault!”

“Never said it was,” Jayne retorted, holding up his knife in a twisted show of innocence, “Hell, seen as how you was the one as brought her here, I’m sayin’ it’s your fault.”

“Jayne,” Mal snapped. “You’re here to listen, not to talk.”

Jayne scowled, but said nothing.

“Now,” Mal continued. “As you all have noticed, River’s condition has worsened some…” Jayne snorted. “… and as she’s showing no signs of improvin’ anytime soon, I think we need to think on finding a more permanent solution.”

“What do you mean?” Simon asked sharply, a jolt of panic whipping through him.

“I mean findin’ help,” the captain replied, firmly but reassuringly.

“I hate to be the voice of pessimism here,” Wash piped up, “but Simon’s been treating her for a year and he’s a doctor with fancy training.” He glanced over at Simon, his expression deeply apologetic. “No offence Doc, but if you can’t help her, who can?”

Not letting himself admit he had the same fears, Simon spoke. “This latest episode is different to how it was when I first got her out. Something has sparked this… if we find out what it is…” he trailed off, realising as he spoke how stupid that sounded. All they had was River’s dire whispered warning, which could be nothing more than the ramblings of a broken mind.

Inara, who had been sitting silently and delicately between Wash and the shepherd throughout this, got to her feet. “Simon, when River first became agitated in my shuttle, she mentioned your parents.”

At this, the shepherd shifted, interested. Mal and Zoe exchanged silent looks. Wash’s eyes widened and even Jayne looked up from his knife. Eager to stifle their false hope at a lead, Simon shook his head.

“No, I mentioned our parents. I thought that was what she meant, but… I’ve asked her since then and she refuses to give a straight answer.”

“She also refuses to eat, or sleep, or say anything other than ‘They’re coming.’ What did you expect?” Mal asked pointedly.

Simon thought for a moment. “Well, she definitely said ‘They want to take us home.’ I can’t think who else she could be talking about. But… it’s impossible.”

“Your parents have plenty of money,” Zoe said. “Surely it ain’t so inconceivable that they’d be able to track you down. Or at least try.”

“That’s exactly what makes it inconceivable,” Simon said firmly. “They would never try. We didn’t part on good terms. My parents have all but disowned me, and River.”

Inara looked upset, and beside her, Book sat up straighter. “They’re your parents, son. I’m sure once they had time for it to sink in, they regretted anything they might have said…”

“Trust me, Shepherd, my parents were glad to see the back of me. I can’t do anything to sully their reputation when I’m not there. I think becoming a fugitive might’ve been the last straw. If they ever came across me again they’d probably hand me right over. It’s probably the only way they can get their reputation back again….”

He froze as the reality of what he’d just said sunk in.

“Oh god.”

“Simon, no,” Kaylee spoke up for the first time. “Your parents may have made some mistakes, but they wouldn’t follow you all over the ‘verse just so they could hand you back over and get invited to dinner parties again.”

The shock was clouding Simon’s mind, and without thinking, he snapped harshly at Kaylee, “Do you know my parents?”

“N-no…” Kaylee said, looking upset. “But…”

“Then you don’t know what they are capable of. They sent their fourteen year old daughter to a school they’d never heard of without checking it out properly, and then ignored it when things got suspicious because they didn’t want people to talk. There isn’t much they wouldn’t do to keep the Tam family name out of the gutter.”

“The question is,” Mal cut in “whether or not your folks want to help, we can’t let them find us. The more people know where you are, the more people can give away your location, or have your location forced out of ‘em. And we can’t let that happen.”

As one, everyone turned to stare through the infirmary windows, where River was sleeping fitfully.

“We can’t let that happen,” Kaylee repeated softly.

Simon reached out and squeezed her hand, feeling abashed at the way he had snapped at her.

“So,” Jayne said, breaking the silence. “What do we do?”

Everyone looked at Mal, who looked stumped.

“I think,” said Book, getting to his feet, “that if we want to avoid been tracked, we could start by retracing our steps.”

Mal nodded at that. “Okay. Shepherd, Zoe, come with me to the bridge, everyone else, you’re free to go.”

As the area cleared, Simon turned sheepishly to Kaylee. “I’m sorry.”

She smiled sadly. “It’s okay, Simon. You’re angry an’ upset, you gotta take it out on someone.”

He pulled her closer. “That someone should never be you. I’m serious. You need to stop letting me off for treating you like this.”

Kaylee smirked as she slipped into his arms. “An’ you need to stop apologisin’ for every little thing.” She kissed him firmly. “Everything’s gonna be okay,” she soothed.

Simon shook his head tiredly. “You don’t know that.”

“Yeah I do,” she said softly. There was a silence as they both gazed down at River’s sleeping form.

“You still tired?” Kaylee asked after a moment.

“Yeah,” Simon said, suppressing a yawn. “But I’ll never sleep. Can we…?”” he trailed off, unsure.

“Can we what, sweetie?” she asked.

“Can we just … go sit in my bunk?” He finished lamely, feeling a little embarrassed at how pathetic the request sounded. But Kaylee just smiled, as always.

“Sure thing, honey. I’ll just go put the kettle on an’ I’ll be with you in a minute.”

Breathing out a breath he hadn’t known he was holding, Simon kissed her in relief. “Thank you,” he said sincerely. He had the strangest urge to add something, but managed to keep his mouth shut. Right now, he needed Kaylee. The last thing he could afford to do was scare her away.


Regan Tam watched her husband march down the driveway of their estate, wondering if it would be the last time she ever saw him. Pushing the thought from her mind, she turned to the young maid who stood attentively at the door of the sitting room.

“It’s time, Lucy,” Regan said, and her voice was steady and calm. “You know what to do.”

Lucy bobbed in assent and left the room.

Regan turned back at her husband’s disappearing figure.

“So, Gabriel,” she said quietly, “The race is on.”

Comment, you know you want to

Chapter Two


Tuesday, June 5, 2007 3:26 AM


I am so glad I stayed up.
It's finally here! And it's fantastic!

I'm guessing Regan and Gabriel have differnt plans for their wayward children. I hope at least one of them is good.

Poor Kaylee, she waits for so long then is still denied. Simon deserves a good kicking.
“I’ll make it up to you."
He better.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 4:09 AM


I don't know - I'm wondering if the Tams are actually good guys for once (at least in these fanfic pages!) and are trying to find River and Simon before some other, unseen, enemy does. Interesting ...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 4:18 AM


It's a RACE! It's a RACE! *Regan falls asleep*

;p Yay, this looks like it could get intresting. What will Simon do, will he give it all away to help River...

Go Simon!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007 9:21 AM


Gotta say, Chazzer...even when you're sober (and I am assuming you wrote this while not recovering from being three sheets to the wind;D), you know how to create utterly brilliant cliffhangers! Cuz I definitely wanna know if we should be cheering for the Tams, jeering at them...or splittin; the vote between the two of them:D

And no kicking Simon, blackbeanie...the man is struggling with something that from personal experience is a very trying state of being to be in. I am just glad that Kaylee is understanding...or subsuming her own pain for the moment so Simon can attempt to make some headway.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007 4:35 PM


I have a feeling that we're going to be cheering for one elder Tam and jeering the other. Something tells me that either Regan or Gabriel is looking for Simon and River to warn them about the other.

I feel terrible for Kaylee, but I'm also really glad that she's so understanding. Simon needs her and I think he gets that - which also helps the situation.

The only voice that I felt was a little off was Mal's. His banter with Inara at the beginning was great, but I felt his interaction and comments about River were a tad harsh. But that could just be me! Can't wait for the 2nd chapter ...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 2:48 AM


Woo-hoo, you posted!

Gotta say, Simon might not deserve a kicking, maybe just a slap to the head to wake him up :P

Love that the older Tams are involved, they usually make for a good plot. And with you writing it will definatly be good.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 5:10 AM


Bwahaha. Kaylee irritated that she and Simon were interrupted by River. The conversation in the shuttle made me giggle.

I get the feeling things are going to keep interrupting them and they aren't going to get their 'moment'.

And I'm thinking maybe the Tam elders are working at cross purposes. . .


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Angst ahoy. Simon and Kaylee need to talk.

Things have to end, one way or the other. Simon takes aim, but can he pull the trigger? Action and Angst.

Vents are useful things. Mal plays the messenger boy, Simon learns how to be intimidating, and Jayne doesn’t take the hint. Big Damn Action ensues.

Regan plants the seed of doubt in Kaylee’s mind, while Jayne, Simon and River hatch a plan. A cunning hat and a girl with a gun? Yeah, this is gonna go great. Meanwhile, Mal rethinks his attitude to Simon.

Kaylee is in Regan Tam’s clutches, but all is not as it seems. River decides to clean up Simon’s mess. Mal clutches at straws, and Jayne clutches his big stick. Serenity has some visitors…and then she has some more.

Mal considers childproofing the ship when he discovers Simon and Jayne are gone. Regan makes some progress and Simon learns what it takes to buy a gun. As always, a little angsty, but not too much.

What’s going on? No one’s quite sure… Simon has some serious regrets and turns to an unusual source for comfort, and Mal is sick of the doctor causing trouble. More angst as the crew is being whittled down. S/K

When Simon has made his mind up on something, there’s no swaying him. And right now, he’s decided to be an idiot. Big Damn Angst, as the crew try to find the missing River.

Some people just can’t catch a break. Jayne thinks Simon had a deprived childhood, Wash is left out, Simon gets to go fishing and Kaylee has been waiting long enough. A little fluff, a little smut, and a whole lot of things going not smooth. R, I guess.

The crew decide to hide while figuring out their next move. Sun, sea and sand … all Kaylee is missing is her boyfriend. Simon is torn and River plays ‘I Spy.’ A good healthy mix of fluff and angst.