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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE
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.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 922 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: Thanks for all the shiny comments for Chapter One! And thanks again to my beta Mavourneen. Nice to see a little speculation on the Tams. And yes, BEB, I was sober when I wrote this… it’s been a long time brewing! Anyway, enjoy. Point of interest, Tasnim is Arabic for ‘springs of paradise.’
To see translations, hover mouse over Chinese word.
Chapter Two – Trouble in Paradise
“Look, I generally try to keep my mouth shut when it comes to discussing your plans…”
“…Because, generally, your plans are le se, and I don’t like to cause arguments…”
“Doc, you might wanna…”
“…But, as your plans go, this is really taking the niao.”
“Simon!” Mal snapped. “Bizui!”
Simon folded his arms and managed to stay silent for a further five seconds as they all stood on the bridge, watching the small moon draw closer.
“But, captain…” he started again, well aware he was beginning to sound like a whiny teenager. “We’re …hiding?”
“Until we can think of somethin’ better, yes.” Mal confirmed.
Simon glanced over at Kaylee, who quickly hid her amusement and shrugged sympathetically at him.
“And you really think we’ll be safe here?” Simon pressed.
“For a spell,” Mal told him, relieved the doctor had stopped ranting. “Hardly anyone lives round here.”
Simon glanced at the approaching terrain.
“Er… why?” he asked.
The reason for his confusion was clear to anyone. They were landing on a large expanse of sand, a few hundred metres away from a glittering ocean. The sun was bright and the heat had hit them all the moment they’d hit atmo. Despite his reservations, Simon had to admit the place looked like paradise.
“Because this is all it is for the whole southern hemisphere of Tasnim,” Zoe said, indicating the ground. “Mile after mile of sand. Nowhere for cattle to live, no ground to grow food on, no source of fresh water. People come to visit, but unless they have their own food and water supply like us, they don’t stay long.”
Simon nodded. “Oh.”
Mal clapped him on the shoulder. “Think of it as a little vacation, doctor.”
Simon looked the captain in the eye. “Right. I’ll try to fit in some water sports between sedating my sister and power-napping.”
As people drifted away from the bridge, Simon made his way to the infirmary, intending to sit and brood as he watched River sleep. However, as he entered the room, he was surprised to find her awake, and less agitated than she had been for the past three days. She was still rocking gently, but her face was calmer and she had ceased her endless stream of babble.
She looked at him. Her eyes, while still clouded, were clearer than they had been in days.
“Simon,” she said, “Tricked them for now. Won’t last.”
Simon sighed. “I know it won’t. But we need time to think of something to do.”
He moved to her side, perching beside her and reaching out to smooth her hair.
“They’re still coming,” she told him sadly.
He looked down at her sadly. “Of course they are,” he said heavily.
The siblings looked up to find Kaylee standing in the doorway, looking unusually timid.
“Are you gonna come look around?” she asked hesitantly, her eyes wide.
Simon was torn. He and Kaylee had barely been a couple for a week, and already he was neglecting her for River. On the other hand, he considered as he glanced at his sister, River needed him. The thought of her having another episode while he wasn’t with her scared him beyond words. Biting his lip and not meeting Kaylee’s eyes, he mumbled, “I’m sorry, Kaylee, I really need to stay with River…”
There was a pause. “Okay,” Kaylee said awkwardly, “Well, I’m gonna go explore, I’ll see you guys soon.”
She moved from the doorway just as Simon forced himself to look up.
“Kaylee!” he called.
“Yeah?” she turned back, looking hopeful.
“Have fun,” he said lamely, “And… be careful.”
She smiled tightly. “Don’t worry about me.”
River and Simon sat in silence after she left, both lost in thought.
“I’m sorry,” River said after a while.
“It’s not your fault,” Simon said firmly. “I’m just … a terrible boyfriend.”
Wordlessly, River shifted closer and curled up into him. Smiling slightly, Simon draped his arm over her shoulder, revelling in the familiarity of the embrace.
“Okay,” he said, forcing his thoughts away from Kaylee. “Let’s play a game.”
He felt, rather than saw her smile. “I spy, with my little eye…”
Gabriel Tam was angry. He had been angry many times in his life. He had been mad when he found his gardener stealing from his wallet. He had been livid when he found a waiter flirting with Regan on their honeymoon. He had been fuming when he found a co-worker being negligent with his company’s accounts, and raving when they had lost money as a result.
He had been irate when his only son had betrayed his family, shamed his name, and turned his sister and himself into wanted fugitives.
But even that rage was nothing compared to how Gabriel felt when he discovered his wife of thirty years had double crossed him.
“Find her,” he barked into the comm unit, before slamming it down and turning back to his audience.
“Bring the girl here,” he ordered, and Carlos dragged Lucy before him.
“Tell me everything you know,” Gabriel thundered, and the girl shook before him.
“I’ve told you,” she gasped, tears pouring down her face. “I know nothing!”
Gabriel turned to Carlos, an imposing man in a black suit and dark glasses.
“Make her talk.”
As Gabriel strode from the room minutes later, Lucy’s cries echoing in his head, he considered that self righteous anger could be very productive.
“Zolpidem,” River chanted without hesitation.
Simon chuckled. “Remind me again why I’m playing ‘I-Spy’ with a psychic?”
River giggled, the sound warming Simon’s heart. “My turn.”
Simon rolled his eyes. “Go on.”
“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with … F”
Simon shifted, feeling increasingly useless. “Let me guess… Freakishly Small Crack In The Ceiling Only You Can See?”
River seemed to seriously consider this, then shook her head. “No.”
“Er… floor?” Simon tried, knowing it was a pathetic attempt.
She rolled her eyes. “That’s pathetic.”
Simon laughed. “Well, I haven’t guessed correctly in a single game of ‘I-Spy’ we’ve played since you were about four, how much enthusiasm do you think I can muster?”
“Do you give up?” she asked, her eyes sparkling.
“Yes,” Simon said reluctantly.
River smiled. “Fang du shou tao,”she told him happily.
Simon blinked. “River. You can’t change languages. That’s cheating.” He glanced around the room. “And I can’t see any protective gloves.”
River pointed to a draw behind them, from which one of Simon’s surgical gloves poked out.
“Oh.” Simon said. “Still. You cheated.”
He poked her playfully, but she was frowning. “I want to sleep now. Go find Kaylee.”
Simon moved to let her lie down. “I think I should stay here, mei mei,” he told her, not wanting to admit he was nervous about seeing Kaylee after snubbing her the way he had.
“Nuo fu,” River said sleepily as he pulled a blanket over her.
“Shut up,” he said tolerantly.
“Go, then,” she insisted.
With a sigh, Simon obliged.
“I don’t mean to be gettin’ in your way,” Kaylee said for the third time. “I know you’re probably wantin’ to do couple-y things.”
Zoe and Wash exchanged a glance.
“We don’t mind, sweetie,” Zoe said calmly.
“Yeah, what couple-y things could we possibly get up to in this beautiful, sunny, romantic tian tang?” Wash added. Zoe swatted him.
“It’s just Jayne and the Preacher went for a jog, and I didn’t want to interrupt ‘Nara and the Captain when they’re getting on so well.”
Zoe smiled. “Yeah. What’s got into them?”
“Maybe it’s the incredibly romantic setting?” Wash joked, receiving another swat from Zoe. This time, Kaylee noticed.
“I’m sorry,” she repeated, stopping short. “I’m just gonna head back.”
“No,” Zoe said quickly.
“Kaylee, I was only kidding…” Wash said gingerly, reaching out to pull the mechanic back on path.
“No, really. I’m just bringin’ you down. You guys go have fun.” Before they could protest any more, Kaylee turned and walked quickly away from them, back in the direction of Serenity. Once there was a considerable distance between herself and the couple, she slowed her pace, not really wanting to go back to the ship to sit on her own.
Slipping off her sandals, she moved to the water side, letting the gentle waves lap and break over her feet. The motion was soothing, but only a little. As she took the long route back to Serenity, following the coast, she thought back to the night she and Simon had shared their first kiss. He’d been talking to her nephew about being a big brother. Kaylee sighed, remembering how she’d filled with emotion at his words. He truly believed looking out for River was the most important job in the world. No matter what, his sister always came first.
What annoyed Kaylee was that she couldn’t even muster any real indignation at the fact. As much as she wanted him to pay her some attention, it was the man who would do anything for the person he cared about that she had fallen for. And she couldn’t resent him for looking out for River, especially when the girl needed him so badly.
Kaylee stood still for a moment, letting the waves carry the sand from beneath her feet so she sank a little beneath the surface. It was a trick her father had taught her when she was young, something she’d done over and over again in her youth, and even now she felt a flicker of joy at the sensation. She glanced over her shoulder at Serenity, and sighed.
Moving her toes through the sand, Kaylee wondered if Simon would ever care about her half as much as he cared for River. If he devoted himself to her just a fraction as much, Kaylee would be the happiest woman alive. But at the same time, she couldn’t help but doubt it was possible. Sure, Simon had said they were a couple, he had kissed her and made her feel special and told her she was amazing. But he hadn’t said he loved her. Granted, it was early days. But Kaylee was scared that he would never feel ready to say those words.
And if she continued to keep him away from River, something might happen to the girl, and that thought scared Kaylee too. She was a caring person, and she cared about River, a lot, almost as if she were a sister. She could get hurt, and then Simon would resent Kaylee, maybe even hate her. An image of Simon looking at Kaylee the way he had looked when he spoke of his parents flashed in Kaylee’s mind, and her eyes filled with tears.
Despite everything, however, Kaylee wished Simon was there now, instead of sitting inside the cool infirmary, mulling over his guilt and anguish. She glanced back at Serenity again and started. A figure was moving towards her, cutting across the sand, moving fast.
Kaylee could already tell it was Simon. It was in the way he walked, purposeful, his hands dug in his pockets, his shoulder slightly tensed in a permanent defensive state. As his familiar feature came in to focus, his eyes met hers, and he smiled hesitantly, and she felt guilt coming off him in waves. Smiling as brightly as she could, she closed the distance between them.
Before she could speak, his arms were wrapped loosely around her frame and her face was buried in his chest.
“I’m sorry, baobei,” he muttered into her hair, and she smiled. It was the first time he’d called her that.
“It’s okay,” she murmured, almost purring in contentment. “It’s okay.”
They sat together on the beach, letting the waves wash over their feet.
“How is she?” Kaylee asked.
“She’s doing better, she…” Simon stopped, and looked at her sheepishly. “You know what, I’d rather not talk about River just now.”
Kaylee smiled. “Okay.” She rested her head on his shoulder. “What do you want to talk about?”
He kissed her head. “I don’t know. Anything.”
She ran her finger over his hand, smiling coyly. “Well, we could just not talk at all,” she suggested.
Grinning wickedly, he kissed her in response, gently at first, and then more urgently as he felt her hands tangle in his hair. Holding her firmly, he laid her back on the sand, feeling the sun beat down on his back as he leaned over her. She moaned against his lips, and Simon felt all his troubles evaporate, at least for the moment.
Wash helped Simon put River to sleep that night, rifling through the drawers for a sedative as the doctor checked her heart rate.
“So, is she gonna be okay?” he asked, handing Simon the syringe.
“Well she’s calmer, but I’m not sure how long it’s going to last,” Simon told him, distractedly.
Wash nodded, unsure of what to say next. Looking up, Simon saw the pilot shift nervously, and was puzzled.
“Something wrong, Wash?” he asked calmly.
Wash met his eye, and steeled himself. “I just … I don’t know if you noticed, but Kaylee was pretty upset today…”
The look on Simon’s face told Wash he had not needed to point this out, and he immediately regretted rubbing salt in the obvious wound.
“I know,” Simon said quietly, eyes lowered.
“I know it’s none of my business, buddy,” Wash said very quickly, “But Kaylee… Kaylee’s an angel. You should hold on to her.”
Reluctantly, Simon met his eyes. “I know.”
There was an awkward pause, and Wash nodded satisfied. “Well, this conversation is getting way too serious. Excuse me while I think of an inappropriate joke.”
Simon laughed appreciatively, and watched pensively as Wash left the room. Sighing heavily, he moved his gaze to River’s sleeping form. He absently pushed a strand of hair out of the girl’s eyes, wondering as he did so how caring for her came so easily when he had such a hard time showing Kaylee how he felt. Feeling slightly overwhelmed at his own ability to mess things up in such a short space of time, he resolved that from now on, he would do better to balance Kaylee and River. After all, Kaylee wasn’t particularly demanding. It couldn’t be so hard.
Checking instinctively that River was secure on the bed and there was nothing sharp or dangerous within her reach, he left the infirmary and headed towards the engine room. As expected, he found Kaylee there, her tiny feet only visible as she worked beneath the engine.
“Kaylee,” he called softly, not wanting to startle her. She slid out, and beamed when she saw him.
“Hey, you,” she said mischievously, but the fatigue in her voice was palpable. Moving towards her, Simon took in her exhausted appearance, and felt a twinge of guilt at not noticing before.
“Hey yourself,” he said, crouching down to her level. She leaned in happily for a kiss and he smiled against her lips, wondering for what felt like the hundredth time what had taken him so long to be with her this way.
“Come to my bunk,” he whispered, stroking her warm cheek.
Kissing him again, she nodded, letting him guide her to her feet. She leaned into his chest, letting her eyes flicker shut. “I’m tired,” she murmured apologetically.
Simon smiled again, kissing the top of her head. “I know,” he said. “It’s okay. Let’s go sleep.”
She lifted her head to look at him, her face content. “I like you,” she teased softly.
Chuckling, Simon kissed her nose gently. “I like you too,” he replied, before taking her hand and tugging her carefully towards the door. “Now let’s go.”
Carlos smirked grimly, and approached Gabriel’s desk. “Sir?”
“What is my dear wife up to?” Gabriel asked calmly.
Carlos placed a sheaf of papers on the desk in front of him. “We got it all down, sir.” He smiled once more, malice filling his menacing features.
Gabriel glanced down, eyes darting quickly over the notes before him.
“Prepare the ship.”
“Sir,” Carlos assented, turning to leave.
“And Carlos?” Gabriel called. Carlos glanced over his shoulder, waiting.
Gabriel met his eye. “Dispose of the girl.”
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