Saturday, June 9, 2007

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.


Job Satisfaction

A/N: As always, big thanks to my beta, Mavourneen! And thanks for all the comments so far!

Chapter Three

To see translations, hover mouse over Chinese word.

Chapter Four – So Near, So Far.

Silence echoed around the tiny bunk.

“What do you mean, ‘disappeared’?” Simon asked, his voice not betraying anything he had been feeling moments previously. Without sparing a look for Kaylee, he quickly donned his clothing.

“I mean ‘disappeared’,” Zoe replied stoically. “Get up here.”

“Simon,” Kaylee murmured, her head spinning from confusion and the sensations still tingling numbly in her body.

He didn’t even look at her as he climbed the ladder two rungs at a time.

Sliding quickly out of bed, Kaylee pulled on her underwear and a robe and followed him.

Jayne leered at her appreciatively as she entered the galley.

“Know what them two were up to,” he said crudely. Simon didn’t react. He was looking at the captain.

“Where is she?”

The captain had sobered considerably, as had Zoe and to a certain degree Wash. They exchanged glances.

“Noticed her bunk door was open and she weren’t inside. We’ve looked for her everywhere.”

“Well you can’t have looked for her everywhere, as you clearly haven’t looked in the place she is,” Simon snapped.

Book entered, quickly followed by Inara. “She’s not in either shuttle,” the companion said solemnly. “We searched them completely.”

Shaking his head in disbelief, Simon strode past them and headed towards the engine room. “River?” he called. “River?”

“Which part of ‘we’ve looked everywhere,’ don’t he understand?” Jayne asked, looking thoroughly put out at the whole affair. Kaylee silenced him with a look. She could feel tears welling in her eyes.

“We’ll find her, Simon,” she said, as he reappeared at the doorway looking lost. She couldn’t help but notice he didn’t meet her eye. “If we all just split up.”

Jayne groaned. “Kaylee, we’ve already looked.”

“We were barely gone ten minutes,” Kaylee said angrily. “You can’t have looked that well, the girl is a genius after all. There are plenty of hiding places she could have found.”

Mal sighed. “Okay,” he said. “Let’s tear this place apart.”

At his word, Simon paced from the room and down towards the cargo bay. As everyone else dispersed in different directions, Kaylee darted after him.

“We’ll find her, Simon,” she repeated as she caught up with him, trying to reassure herself as much as him. She bent to remove the panel they hid cargo behind. He merely grunted in response, but at least he was acknowledging her.

“Here, crazy!” Jayne called from above, walking along the catwalk. “Come out, come out wherever you are.”

Kaylee laid down the panel and poked her head inside the tiny space. Nothing. She crawled back out with a sigh.

“She ain’t on this ship,” Jayne said, sounding supremely unconcerned. Kaylee watched Simon’s fists clench in anger, and she laid a hand on his shoulder to calm him. Throwing her an unreadable glance, he shrugged it off, and stormed to the other side of the cargo bay to continue his search.

As Kaylee turned back to look between the stacked crates that surrounded her, her eyes filled with tears, and her head began to pound as the sounds of clanging metal and people calling River’s name filled her ears.

“Oh, River,” she whispered to herself, a single tear running down her cheek. “Where are you?”


“River, wherever you are, please come out.” Wash repeated into the comm.. Behind him, the crew gathered, all looking somber, apart from Jayne, who looked bored, and Simon, who looked furious.

There was a pause, and Wash tried again. “River, sweetie, if you’ve done something wrong, it doesn’t matter. You’re not in trouble. We just want to know you’re okay.”

Nothing. “River, please. If you’re hurt, yell and let us know where you are.”

Wash sighed, replaced the mic and swiveled in his chair to face the others. “Well, she’s either not here, or she is and she doesn’t want to be found.”

Mal stood up straighter, and everyone, even Simon looked at him. “Okay, here’s what we’re gonna do. Inara, you an’ me are gonna take a shuttle each and scan the surrounding area, see if we can see her. Wash, you wait here so you can call us back when she’s found.”

“If she’s found.” Jayne corrected. Zoe kicked him.

“Zoe, you’re gonna go out on foot. It’s slower, but you’ll be ground level. Take a comm and a flashlight with you, and it’s getting dark out there, so keep your gun on you.”


“Jayne, you’re gonna use your tracking skills. Go out on foot as well, see if you can spot a trail. Shepherd?”


“Got myself a hunch you might have some experience as a tracker yourself. Think you can make yourself useful?”

“Of course, captain.”

“Okay,” Mal looked around at them and nodded. “Let’s get to it.”

“Wait,” Simon said as everyone but he, Kaylee, Mal and Wash left the bridge. “What about me?”

Mal hesitated for a second before speaking. “You stay here. If she’s hurt, gonna need you nearby, not out looking for her in the wrong place.”

“She’s my sister!” Simon yelled.

“An’ I’m your captain, an’ you’ll do as I say.”

Simon looked ready to continue protesting, but Wash stepped in. “He’s right, Simon. The others will find her, and when they do, she’ll need you to be here.”

Simon said nothing, but continued to look furious. Wordlessly, he strode from the room.

“What ‘bout me?” Kaylee asked meekly.

Mal shook his head. “Don’t want you goin’ out there on your own.”

“River’s on her own!”

“I know. An’ the last thing we need is two lost girls. You stay here and look after Simon, he’s gonna need it.”

Kaylee turned to Wash as Mal left the bridge. “Don’t think Simon would much appreciate that,” she mumbled.

Wash reached out and squeezed her hand. “He’s just worried. He’ll be fine.”

“He wouldn’t even look at me,” Kaylee whimpered.

Standing, Wash pulled her into a friendly hug. “He’ll see sense soon enough, trust me.”

Kaylee sniffed.

Wash lifted a dinosaur from the console. “Wanna stay here and take your mind of things?” he asked, waving the toy in front of her face.

Smiling weakly, Kaylee shook her head. “Thanks Wash, but I better go check on Simon.”

She turned hesitantly. He was her boyfriend after all, it was her duty. Steeling herself, Kaylee headed toward the infirmary, where she was sure he would be, full of apprehension, and just a little fear.

She found him exactly where she’d expected, sitting on the infirmary bed, playing with something in his hands. When she reached the doorway, she realized it was a surgical glove. She frowned.

“Simon?” she said cautiously.

He looked up, his eyes empty, and held out the glove in his hand.

Fang du shou tao,” he offered. “Glove.”

She stepped forward, puzzled. “What…?”

“We were playing ‘I-Spy’” he said by way of explanation, looking down.

“Simon,” Kaylee said, stepping forward and placing her hands over his. “They will find her.”

He pulled his hands away.

“I appreciate the optimism, but it doesn’t mean much coming from you.”

Kaylee covered her hurt, knowing he wasn’t in his right mind. “Simon, everything will work out,” she insisted. “The captain won’t let her get hurt.”

To her surprise, Simon began to laugh, mock joy twisting his handsome face. “That’s your answer to everything isn’t it? ‘The captain will fix it.’ What did he ever do to give you so much faith in him? Or is it just like everything else?”

Kaylee bit her lip, willing herself not to cry or act insulted. “He ain’t ever given me a reason not to believe in him. An’ life has always shown me that things work out for the best.”

He looked at her, pity in his eyes. “You’re so naïve.”

Blinking back tears, Kaylee said nothing, but placed a hand on his arm. He removed it gently.

“I need to be alone right now,” he said, his voice monotonous.

Kaylee nodded. Without another word, she slipped out of the room, climbed up the stairs and crawled under the engine, where she clutched her favourite wrench tightly in her hands and began to sob.


It was pitch black outside when the other’s returned, the shuttles clicking into place as Kaylee trotted towards the ramp to lower it. She’d already known the news was bad, Mal had instructed Wash to call everyone back after two hours had passed, and everyone had reported to Wash that they’d had no luck. Still, it was heart-clenchingly hard to watch first Zoe, then Jayne and Book to re-board the ship, all empty handed.

Simon didn’t even come out of the infirmary.

“Son,” Mal said, rapping on the door before entering. Simon flinched visibly at his use of the word. “We’re gonna go out first thing in the morning. The second the sun is up, we’ll go back out there.

Simon trained his stony gaze on the captain. “You’re just gonna leave her out there all night? She could freeze … anything could happen to her.”

Mal sighed. “I know. But there’s nothing we can do ‘til morning.”

Simon didn’t appear to accept this, but didn’t argue. “What if she comes back? How will she get in?”

“I can wait at the ramp, just in case,” Kaylee spoke up from Mal’s side. “I ain’t tired, I don’t mind…”

Simon looked at her, and said nothing.

“Well,” Mal said, fidgeting at the tension between the couple. “I’m gonna get to bed. We’ll be up bright an’ early, doc. You should, er, get some…” he trailed off as Simon’s gaze told him exactly what he thought of that suggestion.

“Cap’s right, Simon,” Kaylee said, after Mal had left. “Everyone’s in bed, there’s no reason for you to be sitting up worrying. What good’ll that do?”

“You’re right,” Simon said, pressing his lips together.

Kaylee smiled encouragingly.

“I’m going out.”

“What?” Kaylee cried, shocked. “No, Simon!”

He pushed past her, heading for his bunk. “I refuse to just sit here while she’s out there.”

“You have no idea where she could be, you could get lost yourself, for all you know she’s found somewhere safe-”

“Safe?” Simon snapped, cutting her off. “She hasn’t been safe for years. The only place she’s ever been safe was at home, on Osiris. Nothing about this place is safe!”

“That ain’t true,” Kaylee said in a small voice, as he pulled on his long black jacket, and fumbled with the buttons. “She’s safe here.”

Simon shot her a derisive look and pushed past her once more. Kaylee glanced down at herself, dressed in nothing but a robe over her underwear and a pair of sandals she used to work in the engine room.

She looked back up at Simon as he opened the door into the airlock. With a sigh, she hurried after him.

“Simon, this is ridiculous,” she called as she caught up with him. “We’ll never find her like this!”

He didn’t answer.

The cold whipped around Kaylee, and she pulled the robe tighter around her. It made little difference.

“We’ll just get lost… we’ve haven’t got a comm, or a gun in case anything happens… we haven’t even got a flashlight!”

He still didn’t speak, striding forward purposefully, even though she knew he had no idea where he was going.

“Simon!” she cried, her teeth chattering. “Jayne has lots of experience as a tracker. As soon as it’s light, he’ll be able to see where she went.”

She reached out and clutched at his coat, which he pulled out of her grasp without even breaking stride.

“Simon!” she sobbed, forcing herself not to collapse into a heap on the ground and cry. “Simon, please!”

“Just go back, Kaylee!” he yelled.

“No,” she said stubbornly. “I ain’t going back without you.”

He spun so suddenly she almost walked into him. He looked so annoyed and furious that she took half a step back in fear.

“I don’t want you here,” he told her roughly. “I’m looking for my sister. Go back.”

Shuddering painfully in the cold, Kaylee stared at him determinedly. “No.”

Simon growled in rage, and it was so uncharacteristic that Kaylee took another step back.


“Shut up!” he yelled. “You’re just getting in the way. Why can’t you take the hint?”

She froze, her eyes wide, and the wind whipped her hair angrily in her eyes as they stared each other down.

He took a step towards her, and she suddenly felt incredibly small.

“I have to look after my sister,” he said, his voice quieter but throbbing with venom. “I am clearly the only one who cares if she lives or dies. So why don’t you just go back to your zhen gui ship, play with your you jai zhi engine, and tell yourself everything will be okay. Let me know how that goes for you.”

“Simon,” she gasped, her voice cracking with emotion. “That ain’t fair, you know I care about River!”

He laughed without humour. “If you care so much, why the hell did you make me waste my time with you when she needs me?”

“Make you?” Kaylee repeated in a tiny voice, sure her heart had stopped beating altogether. “Simon, why are you being like this?”

“Because when I should have been checking that my sister was okay, I was with you. When I should have been right across the hallway for whenever she needed me, I was at the other side of the ship, in your bunk.”


“If anything happens to my sister because of you, I will never forgive you!”

The whole world stopped then. The universe ground to a halt. The wind stopped blowing and distant humming of Serenity’s engines dimmed into silence. Kaylee stared into Simon’s blazing eyes, willing him not to see how her heart was trying to burst out of her chest. She racked her brain, trying to think of something to say to shame him, to change his mind, to hurt him the way he had just hurt her.

But she could think of anything, so instead, she just burst into tears.

He closed his eyes, not moving towards her. “Kaylee,” he said, and she could read nothing in his voice, no regret, or guilt, or even anger, just deep, deep sadness.

“Oh, god,” she murmured breathlessly, clutching her chest. She backed away from his suddenly rigid form. “Oh, god, oh god.”

“Kaylee,” he repeated, and though she could detect regret in his voice this time, it barely registered over the roaring in her ears.

She backed away from him hurriedly, stumbling and almost falling in her haste.

“Kaylee, I didn’t mean that!” he said firmly, following her, genuine regret now palpable in his voice. “Kaylee, please!”

Tears were pouring so thickly from her eyes that she could hardly see; she spun, and in the distance could make out the lights of Serenity. She would recognise them anywhere. She moved towards them, quickening her pace.

“Kaylee!” She felt his hands close around her, and a sob wracked through her body as she ripped herself from his grip and began running as fast as she could towards Serenity.


Simon turned over again, pulling the covers more tightly around himself despite knowing there was a reason he was shaking so much and the cold wasn’t it. Thoughts of River in danger ran through his head, but he was surprised to find even that pain dulled in comparison to the ache of not having Kaylee beside him. They had not spent every night together since becoming a couple, but it still felt wrong to not feel her cuddled up into him, even more so now that he knew beyond a doubt that he would never feel that again.

How could he have been so stupid? He cursed himself over and again for taking his rage out on Kaylee. Kaylee, who had never done anything but be nice to him, welcoming him when he was unwelcome, accompanying him when he was lonely, comforting him when he needed it. She had been his rock, ever since he had boarded Serenity for the first time, and she could have been so much more… if he had only let her. And now he had ruined the chance completely. She probably hated him, and rightly so.

The second the words had left his lips, he’d regretted them. He wanted to scoop them back in and swallow them. He would have deleted every word from every dictionary in the ‘verse if it would take away the look of absolute horror from her eyes. The anger throbbing through his body had disappeared the second the first tear had spilled from her eyes. God, it had broken his heart to see her cry, knowing he was the cause of it.

Swearing furiously, Simon tossed and turned, no nearer to sleep than he had been hours ago. Forcing his eyes closed, he dwelled over how he could convince her he hadn’t meant what he’d said. Surely she would understand it was his worry talking. Worry for River. And anger at himself for not being there when she needed him. But how could he explain to Kaylee that he blamed himself for that, not her, that he could never regret being with her, that he loved her…

Simon felt his eyes prickling at the thought. He had tried not to consider the possibility, but it was all too clear to him now that he had loved her for some time. And now he had lost her.

Taking a deep breath, Simon scrambled out of bed. There was no way he was sleeping tonight. He needed to talk to Kaylee, and if she was having as much trouble sleeping as he was, then she wouldn’t mind him calling at this time.

Not bothering to dress, Simon crept from his room and made his way up to her bunk, moving silently so as not to rouse any of the crew.

He knocked softly on Kaylee’s door.

“Kaylee, can I come in?”

There was no reply. He sighed.

“Kaylee, I know you’re mad, and you have every right to be, but I am so sorry. I didn’t mean it. Please let me in so we can talk.”

There was nothing but silence. Simon knocked again.


When he still received no response, Simon steeled himself. He hadn’t come all this way for nothing. He pushed at the door, and was relieved to find it wasn’t locked.

He climbed down the ladder, trying not to think about the last time he had done so. He turned to face the bed, ready to dodge whatever trinket she could find to throw at him

The bed was empty.

Frowning, Simon clambered back up and padded through to the engine room. Also empty. Wondering if perhaps she had returned to the cargo bay to wait for River to return, he hurried down the stairs. Glancing down, he saw her chair was empty, but then something else caught his attention.

The mule was missing.

This is the part where you leave a comment… honest.

Chapter Five


Saturday, June 9, 2007 11:28 AM



What I am about to say now I have yet to say in any fanfiction, and I hope to never have to say again! But you made me...

In this chapter Simon was an ASS...

But I like to think that his worry caused his brain to become retarded... and he thought Kaylee was Jayne!

I'm likeing the story, but I have to say that Simon's outburst (in my very un-educated and un-schooled opinion) was out of character. Just cause he knows it wasn't Kaylee's fault, I think if he was to blame someone he would beat himself up and blame himself, not Kaylee.

I wanna see what happens.

Saturday, June 9, 2007 5:27 PM


I think you're treading a fine line between Simon's speech being out of character and also very in character. I also don't see him completely blaming Kaylee, but I can see that if he was worried to the point he is at this moment, he might say something he completely did not mean (as was the case). However, if something happens to Kaylee while she's off looking for River, it will completely be Simon's fault. That should make for some great angst down the road.

I have to say that as I read this, I kept gasping at every line Simon had, not believing that he could say such hurtful things. But we all know that he has quite the blind spot when it comes to River (and Kaylee for that matter). Plus, if I'd been interrupted trying to have sex that many times, I'd probably be a might testy too. The boy needs to get some - and so does Kaylee!

Can't wait to see what befalls our heroes next!

Saturday, June 9, 2007 6:47 PM


See, NOW Simon deserves a kicking.

Awesome, update soon.

Saturday, June 9, 2007 7:07 PM


I have to agree with TamSibling that you tread a fine line with Simon's very hurtful speech to Kaylee. He does get very 'stiff' and frustrated when things with River go awry (it sort of reminds me on the Safe episode where they're in the store and he goes off about Mal and Serenity being a piece of luh-suh) but wow was he harsh on her. Obviously his worse 'foot-in-mouth' episode to date.

Love it though, hope he figures out how to patch things up with her.

Sunday, June 10, 2007 3:41 AM


*Shakes head* Goddamn you, Simon.

Hope nothing bad happens to Kaylee, I have a shred of hope that Chazzer won't kill her.
Very tiny shred.

Sunday, June 10, 2007 9:07 AM


Ya know....much as it seems really OOC for Simon to go THAT cruel on Kaylee for his own feelings of guilt and fear, I personally think that Simon could get to this point if the stress got to him enough.

I certainly doubt Chazzer will kill Kaylee, but I imagine Simon would get seriously eviscerated by the rest of the crew and Kaylee will get injured searching for River, causing a heartfelt hospital bed confession scene. It's cliched but it works so well;D


Sunday, June 10, 2007 4:48 PM


I'm torn between thinking this was very out of character for Simon, and thinking that if he was pushed enough to his limits, he could end up behaving this vehemently.

It made me cringe, either way, because getting back what little he had, is now going to be even more difficult.


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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.