Sunday, June 10, 2007

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


Job Satisfaction

A/N: Firstly, in response to some of the comments from last chapter. What can I say? I knew when I posted it that it would be a little controversial, but this fic is about Simon being torn between his job (River) and his own needs (Kaylee.) I figured he’d need to get pushed to extremes to see that he needs to find a balance. He is certainly gonna spend the rest of this story dealing with the repercussions of his words. Hope ya’ll stick with this, anyway.

Thanks again to Mavourneen, my beta. And thanks for all comments, good or bad.

Chapter Four

To see translations, hover mouse over Chinese word.

Chapter Five - Male Bonding

Kaylee swore to herself as her eyes clouded with tears once again. She was supposed to be finding one, tiny girl in the pitch black, and she couldn’t do that if her eyes weren’t working properly. Kaylee pulled her jacket more tightly around her, and sighed.

Simon’s words still stung, but after she’d crawled into her bunk and cried for a while, she’d come to a decision. She had waited too long and worked too hard to get Simon to lose him now. And if all she needed to do to gain his love was find his sister, then she would do it.

After all, Kaylee considered, life ain’t much worth living if the man you love doesn’t love you back.

* “Mal!” Simon yelled. “Mal, wake up!”

He heard noises of someone moving in the bunk below, but was far too wound up to wait. Viciously, he kicked open the door to the captain’s bunk.

“Whoa,” yelled Mal, appearing at the bottom of the hatch, thankfully wearing pants. “Hold your horses, doc. I said we’d go first thing, but-”

“The mule’s gone,” Simon told him, and his voice shook as he spoke. “The mule’s gone and so is Kaylee.”

Mal swallowed, hard. “Simon, I…”

“We have to find her!” Simon demanded.

“Which ‘her’?”

“Kaylee!” Simon yelled. He could hear people exiting their bunks around him, questioning him, but he ignored it. “Don’t you understand? It’s my fault she’s gone!”

* “They were last seen heading towards this largely uninhabited moon, Tasnim” the man said, indicating on the screen. “It’s basically just one big beach, a good place to hide.”

“What are they hiding from?” Regan asked, confused. “Do you think they got word we’re looking for them?”

The man shook his head. “More likely they’re lying low after some job. I’ve heard a little about the ship’s reputation. Not all their cargo is legal. In fact, they don’t seem at all fussy about what jobs they take.”

Regan’s eyes hardened. “I see. Then the sooner we find them, the better.”

She turned to her pilot. “Go down. Find somewhere sparse, away from where anybody lives. That’s where they’re most likely to hide.”

The pilot nodded, and Regan tucked her hands beneath the table, not wanting any of her crew, or the private investigator beside her, to see her cross her fingers.


It reminded Simon eerily of his first day on board, the way they all sat, waiting for him to speak. Even the same two people were absent, although this time, Kaylee and River weren’t sleeping in the infirmary. Simon gulped and wondered which option was worse.

He took a deep breath, and spoke. “Kaylee and I had an argument last night,” he began. “Or, rather, I yelled at her.” He lowered his eyes. “I said some things I…well, in the heat of the moment, I … implied that I blamed her for River going missing.”

There was a sharp intake of breath from several of his audience members. Inara’s tone was slightly cold when she asked “By ‘implied,’ you mean…?”

Simon sighed. “I told her that if anything happened to River I would never forgive her.”

Mal cursed heavily under his breath as Jayne narrowed his eyes in dislike. Inara’s gaze remained on Simon, disappointed but understanding. Zoe, as always, didn’t flinch, and Wash avoided Simon’s eye. Book simply bowed his head.

“I’m not proud of it,” Simon said, and his voice was barely above a whisper. “But I said it, and she didn’t give me the chance to explain, to apologize.”

“Can you blame her?” Zoe asked, and her tone was stony.

Simon closed his eyes. “No.”

“But you decided, at,” Mal checked his watch, “4:30 in the morning, that the time was ripe to make amends, and you find she’s disappeared.”

“She’s looking for River,” Simon said, and no one had to ask how he knew. “She must think…” he trailed off once more, unable to voice what he dreaded was going through Kaylee’s mind.

“Gorramit,” Jayne spoke up for the first time. “As if it ain’t bad enough, havin’ one crazy girl missing, now the ruttin’ doc’s gone and chased off lil Kaylee. I told you, Mal, you should never have let them two hook up, he ain’t done nothin’ but upset Kaylee since he got on board.”

“The captain doesn’t decide who dates whom, Jayne,” Inara said smoothly. “I’ll think you’ll find it was Simon and Kaylee’s decision.”

“This is hardly relevant,” Book put in.

“Sure it is,” Jayne said. He jabbed his fork at Simon. “If’n anything happens to lil’ Kaylee, it’ll be your fault.”

Everyone paused at this brutal accusation, but Simon didn’t flinch. “I know.”

“What we have to deal with here,” Mal spoke up, “is how to get both girls back on board in one piece.”

“Then shouldn’t we be out there looking?” Simon asked. “The sun will be up soon.”

“No.” said Mal shortly.

“Mal!” Inara gasped.

“Mal, you cannot for a second be thinking about leaving them behind.” Wash said.

Everyone began speaking at once. “Bizui!” Mal yelled, and silence fell.

“Is anyone noticin’ how neither of them has come back on their own accord? It ain’t like River can’t take care of herself. And Kaylee can handle the mule, and she sure as hell wouldn’t want us to worry. Somethin’s happened to them.”

“Then all the more reason for us to get out there!” Simon cried.

Zoe frowned. “With all due respect sir, we don’t know that’s the case. Clearly, Kaylee isn’t…” she threw a sideways, apologetic glance to Simon, “…in her right mind, and River… River left on her own accord, and she probably planned on coming back when she’s good and ready.”

“Simon is right,” Inara stated, “we need to get out there and find them before anything does happen to them.”

“Although,” spoke up Book, “We don’t know that Kaylee has the mule.”

Simon frowned. “What?”

Book looked around. “Did anyone search it, when we were looking for River? Did anyone notice if it was there or not?”

The table exchanged nervous glances.

“Great,” said Wash, “What a good search party we make!”

“Mal,” Simon said, speaking directly to the captain, his eyes desperate. “We need to find them. We need to go now.”

Mal got to his feet. “Jayne’s right. You’ve caused enough trouble.” He directed his attention to the room at large. “What we’re gonna do is assess the situation. Wash get on the cortex, check out the post it alerts for the nearby town. We’re gonna do this thing properly. And doctor?”

Simon met his gaze. “Yes?”

“Why don’t you go sit in the infirmary while we clear up your mess? Try not to cause any more trouble.”

* Gabriel frowned as Carlos dragged the man’s unconscious body into the back of the cell.

“You do have a habit of knocking them out before they manage to say anything useful,” he said, sounding mildly annoyed.

“His accent was irritating me, Sir.”

Gabriel smirked, taking in the man’s bowler hat and moth-eaten suit. “Indeed.”

They left the cell and Gabriel watched as Carlos locked it.

“Go on up to the bridge, and tell the pilot to get us into the air,” he instructed.

“We’re keeping him on board, sir?”

Gabriel glanced back at the cell containing the man that called himself ‘Badger.’

“I’m sure he’ll prove somewhat useful. And if not… it’ll be no great loss.”


“Gorramit doc, what the hell you think you’re doin’?”

Simon sat up on Jayne’s bench, a little out of breath. “I just needed to do something to take my mind of things.”

Jayne nodded, and refused to show that he was impressed at the amount of weight Simon had been lifting.

“What’s going on?” Simon asked, nodding in the general direction of the bridge.

Shrugging, Jayne moved behind him to fiddle with the weights. “Dunno. Mal’s comin’ up with some great plan that ain’t gonna work. I ain’t gettin’ involved. Jus’ do what am told. Here, see if you can manage this.”

With a sigh, Simon lay back and began lifting again. “How can you stand it?” he asked between breaths. “Just doing nothing while they’re out there.”

“Well that’s why I came here. Take my mind of things, but you’d beaten me to it.”

“Sorry,” Simon said, sitting up.

Jayne grunted. “That wasn’t half weak.”


They swapped positions.

“So if’n it’s botherin’ you so much, what you gonna do ‘bout it?” Jayne asked as he worked.

“What do you mean?” Simon asked.

“Well, I’ve never seen you stop at anythin’ to help your crazy sister before. An’ we all know it’s your fault lil’ Kaylee’s in trouble. Why is it now you’re all of a sudden obeyin’ the captain’s orders?”

Simon paused, thinking, and then shrugged. “I’ve already proven I’m pretty useless at taking care of either of them.” He sighed. “I guess I don’t trust myself to not make things worse.”

With Simon’s help, Jayne replaced the weights and sat up. “Well, sitting here moaning about it ain’t gonna help. ‘Steada wallowin’ in self pity, why don’t you go do somethin’ ‘bout it?”

“Like what?”

Jayne looked upwards, and Simon followed his gaze to the spare shuttle.

There was a silence.

“Can you fly that thing?” Simon asked apprehensively.

“Sorta,” Jayne said.

Simon looked at him. “Would you…?”

Jayne folded his arms. “Well, they sure as hell ain’t helpin’ lil Kaylee sitting up there chattin’ ‘bout it.”

“No,” agreed Simon, his mind spinning. “No, they’re not.”

Jayne stood. “So, you up for some thrillin’ heroics, doc?”

Closing his eyes for a moment, Simon thought back. Suddenly, he was back at Kaylee’s parent’s house.

Her voice was almost inaudible.

“You really are amazing, you know that?”

He felt his cheeks redden, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from hers. He noticed they had filled with unspilled tears.

As if being controlled by some higher power, he moved his hand to her cheek, brushing the skin softly, catching the first tear as it fell.

“I think you’re pretty amazing too.”

Simon’s eyes flew open, and he sighed, his own voice echoing in his head.

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

Jayne was watching him curiously. Simon met his gaze. “I’m in.”

“Shiny,” said the older man. “You get on up there.”

“Where are you going?” Simon asked.

Jayne turned back to him. “I’m going to get Vera.”

* “See ‘ere’s the thing,” the man spluttered.

Gabriel winced. Badger was a lot keener to speak now that he didn’t have Carlos manhandling him.

“I run a business, you see,” he was saying.

“I see,” Gabriel answered, full of disdain.

“An’ the man what owns the ship you’re looking for, ‘e’s one of my best customers.”

Gabriel nodded. He could see where this was going.

“Now, if I was to ‘and ‘im over to you, I’d lose out. On cash.”


Badger smirked. “Now, if I was to be offered some sorta compensation, I think we’d be in business.”

Gabriel nodded. “Tell me all you know. And you’ll be ‘compensated.’”

“Right you are,” Badger spun his hat in his hands and replaced it. “’is name’s Malcom Reynolds…”


Simon sat on a crate, his whole body tense, waiting. Try as he might, he couldn’t help but relive the argument he’d had with Kaylee over and over in his mind. Cursing himself inwardly, he pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes, wanting to block the image of her devastated face which had been burned into his mind.

On top of this, his worry for River was still alive and well. Medically speaking, Simon knew it was impossible, but he felt like he was going to burst from the conflicting emotions coursing through him.

His jaw began to ache and he relaxed it, realizing he’d been gritting his teeth too hard. Sighing, he opened the medkit beside him and checked, for the third time, that he had everything he could possibly need. Satisfied, but not reassured, he closed it and turned once more to gaze out of the shuttle window. The sun was bright. It reminded Simon of the picnic he and Kaylee had finally got round to taking.

“So Wash had fun then?” Kaylee asked, giggling, as she lay ensconced in Simon’s arms.

Simon nodded. “I think it’s safe to say our ‘male bonding ritual’ was a success.” He chuckled at the memory.

Kaylee tilted her head and nuzzled into his neck. “I’m glad you had a good morning,” she whispered, her breath tickling his skin.

He smiled. “I’m having an even better afternoon,” he told her in a low voice. He felt her shudder happily at his words, and he pulled her even closer.

“You are happy then?” she murmured, the sun making her sleepy.

He pressed a kiss to her temple. “When I’m with you, I’m always happy,” he whispered.

She sighed in contentment. “Good to know.”

They lay in comfortable silence for a while, enjoying the sun and the closeness of each other.

“We should eat,” Kaylee suggested after a while, and Simon sat up.

“We should,” he agreed, pulling the box of food they’d prepared towards him. “Before our protein gets ruined by the sun.”

She giggled, poking him playfully with her foot. “Simon. Don’t complain.”

“Who’s complaining?” he asked. “I love protein!”

She heaved herself into a sitting position, still laughing. “I love Sarcastic Simon,” she announced absently.

Simon’s heart skipped a beat at the word ‘love.’ He gazed at her, as she peered excitedly in the box, gleeful smile on her beautiful face.

I love you too, he wanted to say.

It would have been the perfect moment. Sitting in the glorious sun, waves lapping at their feet, with no one around to bother them. He, feeling more relaxed than he had in years, she, positively glowing as the sun reflected off her silky hair and expressive eyes. Three words, and the moment would be complete. She would smile her breath-taking smile and place her impossibly soft lips over his own, and he would inhale her sweet scent as they kissed.

He would make love to her right there and then. He would gaze down at her in adoration as he whispered those three words, over and over.

Simon opened his mouth.

“Want some?” Kaylee asked, holding out a beaker to him and beaming.

Simon closed his mouth, and nodded.

It would have been perfect. But he somehow couldn’t say it.

“Doc?” Jayne called, bringing Simon back to the present with a regretful jolt.

“All ready,” Simon said, nodding to his medkit. Jayne nodded in approval, then whipped a small pistol out of his pocket.

“This is for you,” he told him. “Jus’ in case.”

Simon took the gun, turning it over in his hands. “Thank you,” he said in a measured tone, and he meant it.

Jayne took the pilot’s seat. “Well, figure it’s ‘bout time you learned to take care of yourself. Might find you’re a mite more useful to our wayward babes.”

Simon nodded, appreciating this. “You’re right. Thanks.”

Jayne flicked a few switches, and the shuttle shuddered to life.

“Right,” he said, taking the controls in his hands. “Let’s see if I can remember how to do this.”

Just in time, Simon gripped onto the nearest wall, as the shuttle lifted off and sped away from Serenity.

I seem to be getting less and less comments by each post. : (. Go on, make a girl happy…

Chapter Six


Sunday, June 10, 2007 10:24 AM


Oh boy - Mal is going to blow a gasket when he realizes that both Jayne and Simon are gone. I can't help thinking that Jayne's motives are not entirely pure. I liked how you interspersed the current happenings with Simon's memories. Hindsight is always 20/20 - poor Simon.

Sunday, June 10, 2007 11:42 AM


Any bets on the possibility of Jayne leaving Simon stranded in the woods after a short "search"? Cuz I imagine Jayne's in that kind of mood at the moment:(

And I seriously hope that River and Kaylee are found before Gabriel and his goons show up and starting making a mess of things. Cuz I would think having those two ready and able to make with the mischief and brilliance would be a good thing;)


Sunday, June 10, 2007 11:44 AM


Oh, want more. I too wonder about the Tams, but is Badger really going to betray Mal ... again? And Kaylee and River ... things are so not good! Except they are, because the story is!

Sunday, June 10, 2007 4:53 PM


So glad I'm not alone in thinking Jayne has less than good intentions in going out with Simon to look for Kaylee.

Would be all kinds of an interesting twist if Simon gets pinched by Daddy while out with Jayne (who eagerly turns him over still mad about what he said to Kaylee) just as River and Kaylee make their way back to the ship.

Ahh, the angst. The anger, and the decisions (coming off from just upsetting Kaylee, how many of the crew would really want to get Simon back?) THAT would cause.

Anyway, looking forward to the next chapter.

Sunday, June 10, 2007 9:56 PM


oooh.... Another chapter.

I've said my peice about Simon's shouting at Kaylee, but I am intrested in where this is going. If Simon got caught, that would be intresting. The rest of the crew would wonder is he was worth rescueing, and Kaylee and River would probrbly feel guilty.

I can't wait to see what happens next ^^
Keep up the good work.

Monday, June 11, 2007 3:32 AM


I get the feeling some bad stuff is about to go down.
And I am so looking forward to it.


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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.