Wednesday, June 13, 2007

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.


Job Satisfaction

A/N: Look at that, I updates quickly, especially for Leiasky. Well, okay, also because I won’t have time to do so tomorrow. Leaving Newcastle for the summer : ( Thanks for all comments, and thanks again to my beta, Mavourneen. : )

Chapter Six

To see translations, hover mouse over Chinese word.

Chapter Seven – Lost and Found

Kaylee’s head was pounding as if someone had taken their boot to it. Which, in fact, was what had probably happened, it occurred to her. She opened her eyes, and immediately closed them as the harsh, bright light hit her. Scrunching them up to keep in the dark, she thought back. Her mind was still a little fuzzy - sleep-addled and sore from the kicking, she supposed – but bit by bit her memory returned to her.

She’d had no sleep, and the scorching sun was making her even sleepier. She barely noticed when they grabbed her, but she sure as hell noticed when the hand clapped over her mouth.

“Shut her up,” a voice was yelling.

That was when she’d felt the foot connect with her head, and she’d fallen to the ground.

“We’re not supposed to hurt her,” the same voice had said

Well, you ain’t doing a very good job, Kaylee thought to herself, fighting to get out from under the sheet they were covering her with.

“Screw that,” said the second voice. “I don’t care what her mother says, there’s a warrant saying she’s dangerous.”

Kaylee didn’t know how she knew, but it hit her that they thought she was River. She yelped in surprise as rough hands held her down.

“Sedate her,” the first voice snapped.

Kaylee moaned softly. Well, that explained the fuzziness. She blinked weakly, feeling the drugs gumming up her workings. Concentrating, she thought back again, trying to remember why she had been on the mule in the first place.

Simon. As the memory of him came flooding back, she felt a pang in her gut, not unlike the one she’d felt when she was twelve and her mother had told her that her grandmother had died.

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

Her eyes filled with tears as the words resonated in her mind. The look of despair on his face as he’d spoken them was burned into her as if someone had tattooed it to her eyelids. A sob escaped her lips, and before she knew it she heard the sound of someone moving nearby, and her eyes flew open.

Sitting up carefully, she peered blearily around her. She was on a bed in a small cabin. She could tell by the gentle throbbing noises that they were on a ship, but by the appearance of the bunk, it was a fancy one. The bed was soft and large, nothing like her bed on Serenity.

She jumped slightly as she noticed a woman sitting in the shadow by the door, gazing at her. If it wasn’t for the wary look in the woman’s eyes, she would have been very pretty, Kaylee thought. She looked to be in her late forties, her eyes betraying the wisdom of her years, but she was obviously wealthy and well taken care of. Kaylee thought of her mother, who must have been about the same age, but whose face was weathered with lines from work and care and the hot sun. This woman, if she did work, probably did it inside, on a chair, Kaylee thought. She probably used her smarts.

“Hello,” the woman said politely. She sat forward, and as the light crossed her face, Kaylee frowned. This woman reminded her of someone.

“Wh-who are… where am I?” she asked, her head still spinning and pounding.

The woman sighed and didn’t answer. “I’m afraid there has been a mistake.”

Kaylee blinked. “A mistake?”

The woman nodded. “I’m afraid so. You see, I’m looking for my children. They were last seen on a Firefly, named Serenity. My daughter is a few years younger than you, and when my men spotted you on a mule appearing to belong to Serenity, they mistook you for her.”

Kaylee didn’t move, thinking fast. If this woman was, as she claimed, River and Simon’s mother, then surely she didn’t mean them harm. But then why had her men hurt her, if they thought she was River. Simon had been adamant that his parents shouldn’t find them, but if this woman already knew they were on Serenity, there was little Kaylee could do to deny it. At least now I know who she reminds me of, she considered.

“Well,” the woman asked. “Do you know my children?”

Kaylee’s heart was pounding. “I know lots of people. What’s their names?”

“River,” the woman said.

“And your son?” Kaylee asked, stalling. Simon.

“Simon,” the woman answered.

Forgive me, Simon. “Never heard of him,” she said brightly. “They mighta been passengers at some point, but we get a lotta passengers, so it’s hard to keep track.”

“I think you’re lying.”

Kaylee’s heart stopped. “Why would I lie?”

“I’m not sure. But since you knew I had a son before I told you, I’m forced to conclude that you are.”

“What?” Kaylee asked, desperately trying to stop herself from shaking. “You said you were looking for your children, an’-”

“And I only mentioned that there was a daughter. I never told you how many others there were, never mind their genders.”

Kaylee blanched, speechless. So this is where Simon got his smarts.

“Now,” Mrs Tam said, not unkindly. “Why don’t we start again, and I want the truth this time.”

Kaylee felt her eyes beginning to fill with tears once more. “We took ‘em on a while back,” she said, her voice trembling and betraying her. “They was in some kinda trouble, so the Cap’n k-kicked ‘em off. But they’d helped us out some so we p-promised not to talk if’n anyone asked about them.”

Simon’s mother narrowed her eyes, as if considering this story.

“Why would you think you need to protect them from their own mother?”

“’Cos Simon said-” Kaylee began, before cutting herself off, inwardly cursing herself. She was not good at this.

The woman raised an eyebrow. “I thought your captain kicked them off a long time ago?”

A tear escaped and sojourned down Kaylee’s cheek. Throwing away all pretence, she leaned forward. “Look, Mrs Tam, you gotta understand. I don’t know if’n your tryin’ ta help or not, but Simon don’t trust you or his daddy no more. We’re keeping ‘em safe and even if’n you think you can help ‘em, you can’t. If’n you wanna do right by Simon and River you should go back to Osiris before the people lookin’ for ‘em wonder why you’re here.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Regan said softly. “I’m taking my children back home. Where they belong, where I will keep them safe.”

“They ain’t gonna be safe back on Osiris,” Kaylee pleaded. “They ain’t safe anywhere, really, ‘cept when they’re on the move.”

“Then why has Serenity been parked on this moon for almost five days?”

Kaylee lowered her eyes. “We was hiding from you,” she admitted.

Regan frowned. “How did you know I was coming?”

“River knew,” Kaylee said sadly. “River always knows.”

Regan stood and crossed the room, sitting by Kaylee on the bed. “Gui xing?”

“Kaylee,” Kaylee said quietly, not looking up.

“I’m sorry my men hurt you, Kaylee,” Regan said, sounding sincere. “But you must understand. Until you tell me where my children are, I can’t let you go.”

Kaylee nodded. “I ain’t gonna betray Simon an’ River, Mrs Tam, no matter what you do to me.”

Regan sighed.

“You can call me Regan,” she said, before leaving the room.

* “River!” Simon said, his heart pounding in his ears. “You scared us.”

“Yeah, er..,” Jayne coughed. “Speak for yourself, doc.”

Simon glared at him. “You’re the one with a big stick,” he pointed out.

Jayne scowled right back and dropped the stick, looking sullen.

“Where have you been?” Simon asked, turning back to River. “What were you thinking? Have you any idea how worried everyone’s been?”

“I ain’t been worried,” Jayne put in.

“Have you any idea how much trouble you’ve caused?” Simon continued, ignoring Jayne. “Kaylee came out looking for you and now we have no idea where she is!”

“That’s right Doc, blame it all on your little sister.”

“Shut up,” Simon snapped at Jayne. “River, what were you doing?”

“Hiding,” she said, coming towards them. “Till it was safe to come out.”

“And it’s safe now?” Simon asked, curbing some of his irritation.

“No,” River said, looking at him despairingly. “But I have to come clean up your mess now.”

Jayne began to chortle, and winked at Simon jauntily. Simon noticed he’d picked up his stick again.

“River,” Simon spoke, dragging his eyes away from Jayne once again. “You shouldn’t have left. If you …sensed anything… you should have told me, or the captain.”

She looked at him, confused. “Had to hide. Serenity wasn’t safe.”

Simon sighed. “But when you left like that, we didn’t know if you were safe. And now Kaylee…” he trailed off, ashamed.

“Not my fault,” she said. “Yours.”

“I know,” Simon said, feeling the guilt reawaken. “but it wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t run off.”

River nodded. “Couldn’t see. Wasn’t clear.”

“Next time, you tell someone,” Simon said firmly. “If all you had to do was hide, someone would have come with you. To make sure you were safe.”

“I am safe,” River said.

“Ruttin’ hell,” Jayne cut in. “Jus’ listen to your bro, an’ next time save us the agro. Dong ma?

“Yes,” said River. “I understand.”

Simon stepped forward and pulled her into a gentle hug. “Good.”

Jayne grunted. “You’re welcome,” he muttered sulkily. Simon smirked.

“Thank you, Jayne.”

* “I am not losing any more people!” Mal yelled, grabbing Inara’s arm. “You are not going, and that’s final.”

Inara scowled, managing to still look beautiful as she did so. “I rent the shuttle, Mal. I can come and go as I please.”

“No you ruttin’ can’t,” Mal said, retaining his tight grip on her wrist. “Ain’t you spottin’ the pattern? River goes out. Kaylee goes out lookin’ for her and don’t come back. Simon and Jayne go out lookin’ for her, and now they ain’t come back. You want me to fill in what happens if’n I let you go out lookin’?”

Inara gave him a withering look, tugging at her arm in vain. “I’m perfectly capable of flying out, scanning the area, and flying back,” she said primly.

“Funny, cos I’m thinkin’ Jayne’s pretty capable of lookin’ after him self, but I don’t see him returnin’.”

“I’m sure Jayne is fine,” Inara said. “Assuming he and Simon haven’t killed each other, I think they’re in the least danger, don’t you?”

“You can argue all you want, but I ain’t letting a single other person leave this boat, an’ if you leave without my orders, I swear to you, if you come back, you’re packin’ your stuff and leavin’ again just as quick.”

Inara sighed. “So what exactly is your plan, Mal?”

Mal glanced back towards the bridge. “Wash is trying to track the shuttle best as he can. If Kaylee was here we could override the shuttle’s controls, an’ fly it back to us.”

“There’s no guarantee they’re still in the shuttle,” Inara said.

Mal looked down. “Yeah, well, Kaylee ain’t here, is she?”

“No,” Inara agreed.

He pulled at her arm gently, and she allowed him to lead her away from the door to her shuttle.

“Come on,” he said, not looking at her. “Wash is doin’ his best, an’ we just gotta be patient.”

* “Why are you doing this?” Kaylee asked, taking the glass in her shaking hand.

“You need to eat and drink, don’t you?” Regan asked.

Kaylee drank thirstily from the glass, and sighed happily as the water eased her throat. “Yes,” she said, replacing the glass, “but ain’t you got flunkies or people what are s’posed to do the dirty work for you.”

Regan smiled. “I’d rather tend to you myself, my men aren’t exactly in the caring profession.”

Kaylee nodded. “Well, you’re the nicest abductor I’ve ever met.”

Cringing at the term, Regan broke off a piece of bread and fed it to Kaylee, who was still weak from the drugs. “You’ve met many?”

“Guess not,” Kaylee said, shrugging. “Been taken hostage once, but we never even made it off the ship. He was nice, at first, till he, you know, took me hostage.”

Regan frowned, a little worriedly. “Does that kind of thing happen often on Serenity?”

“Guess so,” Kaylee said. “A little more now Simon an’ River are with us. The last man who came for ‘em was real mean. Tied me up an’ said he was gonna…” Kaylee trailed off, and Regan watched in concern as her eyes fluttered closed for a moment. “Anyway,” she continued, “River got the better of him.”

Pursing her lips together, Regan asked “What do you mean?”

Kaylee looked up, a little wary. “Well, River …she’s sorta special.”

When she didn’t elaborate, Regan persisted. “Please, Kaylee. You aren’t betraying them by assuring me they’re okay.”

“They are okay,” Kaylee said. “Least, they was, but… things started happening last night. An’ now I think they’re okay but I ain’t quite sure. But I know they will be okay again soon, even if they ain’t just now.”


Kaylee smiled, an expression Regan was quickly noticing came all too easy to the girl. “The captain. He looks after us all.”

“He does?”

“Yep,” Kaylee said, and Regan could hear the admiration in her voice. “Always has, always will. Once you’re part of the crew, that’s it. You’re family.”

“Family?” Regan asked. “And your captain considers River and Simon to be family?”

Kaylee nodded. “He’d never admit it, but he loves little River somethin’ fierce. She causes trouble without meanin’ to, but he always does what he has to to keep her safe, even if’n it means givin’ up jobs. An’ he’s gotta lotta respect for Simon. They argue all the time, don’t exactly see eye to eye on a lotta things…”

“Simon didn’t see eye to eye with his father, either,” Regan said.

Kaylee giggled, and didn’t notice Regan’s features darkening at the thought of her husband. She wondered how he’d reacted when he’d discovered she’d left. On overhearing his conversation with that oaf, Carlos, Regan hadn’t taken much time to think. She’d had to protect her children, and hadn’t given much thought to the consequences.

“Well, they pretend to hate each other,” Kaylee said, interrupting Regan’s thoughts. “But it’s all for show. Captain knows he can count on Simon to patch us all up, and Simon knows the Captain will never turn his back on him an’ River.”

She looked down, and Regan noticed she looked a little sad.

“Is everything okay?” she asked.

“Just wishin’ I could see Simon,” Kaylee murmured. “Need to talk to him about something. ‘Fraid he might think I’ve turned my back on him.”

Regan bit her lip. “Are you and Simon…?”

Kaylee blushed. “Sweeties?” she asked quietly. “I guess… I mean, we was… but only just, an’ then… he said…” She sighed. “I dunno. It’s complicated.”

Regan said nothing, and Kaylee smiled apologetically.

“Guessin’ I ain’t what you had in mind for your son, eh?”

Regan shook her head. “There’s a lot of things I didn’t have in mind for Simon. He always had a habit of surprising me. He’d go for so long doing just what was expected of him… sometimes I’d forget how strong he really was. But if he ever really believed in something, then he wouldn’t care about doing the unexpected.” She looked down at her lap, solemnly. “Which is why, when he broke his sister out … I wondered why I hadn’t seen it coming.”

“He did a real good thing,” Kaylee said quietly. “You’d know that, if’n you knew the whole story… but please don’t ask me.”

“I won’t,” Regan said reassuringly. “I just want to know where they are.”

Kaylee blinked mournfully. “I’m sorry. I can’t tell you. But if you could see ‘em, you’d be real proud of ‘em.”

She watched sadly as Regan lifted the tray of food and left the room with a polite nod.

“I know I am,” she murmured to herself, before letting herself fall into an uneasy sleep.

* “So what now?” Jayne asked. “We takin’ lil’ fruitloop home an’ then coming back? Or we going for Kaylee now?”

Stepping into the shuttle, Simon considered this. “Do you really think the captain would let us leave again?”

Jayne closed the door behind River, who sat down demurely and said nothing. “Well,” Jayne suggested, walking towards the console, “we could just shove her through the door and take off again.”

Simon rolled his eyes. “I don’t think that would work.”

“Well, you got a better suggestion?”

The shuttle shuddered to life, and Simon, having some experience with Jayne’s flying ability, motioned to River to hold on.

“I don’t exactly want to take her into more danger,” Simon said, “but I think…”

“You need my help,” River spoke up.

Simon sighed. “I guess.”

“How’s that?” Jayne asked. “We’re using Crazy’s Psychic-o-metre now?”

River stood, and despite the jerking and pulling of the shuttle, she balanced perfectly, swaying with the motion. “I know where Kaylee is,” she said, and all of a sudden, her eyes rolled back into her head. “But I don’t want to go there!” she cried in anguish.

“River!” Simon gasped, trying to get to his feet also and go to her. She crumpled to the ground, sobbing and rocking.

“They’re coming, Simon,” she murmured, her eyes wide.

“Oh, here we go again,” Jayne cursed.

Simon crawled to his sister’s side. “Shh, mei mei, it’s okay.”

“No!” she shuddered. “They’re coming. They’re almost here!”

“River,” Simon said, trying to reassure her even as his own heart pounded in fear. “Tell us where Kaylee is and we’ll take you back to Serenity, where you’ll be safe.”

She shook her head, and seemed to calm as quickly as she had come undone. “No,” she whispered. She blinked the tears from her eyes, and seemed to come to herself once more.

Standing, she floated over to Jayne.

“I have to show you.”


“What was that?” Book asked, looking up from the screen he and Wash were pouring over.

Wash shrugged. “Zo?”

Zoe was standing a little behind them, looking puzzled.

“Sounded like …,” she began.

“Freeze!” shouted an unfamiliar voice, accompanied by the cocking of a gun.

Wash raised his arms, and exchanging glances, Book and Zoe followed suit.

“Okay. Miss, turn around real slow,” said the voice, and Zoe obliged.

She could now see what Wash and Book could; four men standing at the entrance to the bridge, each armed to the teeth. She scanned their uniforms. Not alliance. Freelance.

The man who appeared to be in charge eyed Zoe appraisingly, then nodded at Wash. “Take him down first.” He said to his nearest associate. “Cargo bay. Make sure he is secure before coming back, this one could be trouble.” He glanced once more at Zoe. “She’s a Browncoat.”

“Hey, what the-” Wash protested as he was wrested from his seat and dragged from the room.

“Where’s the captain?” The first man asked Zoe.

She pursed her lips. “He ain’t here.”

Just then, the comm beside the flickered to life. “Sir, I got two more in the galley. The captain and another woman.”

The man smirked at Zoe. “You were saying?”

More footsteps sounded from behind him as more men entered the bridge. Zoe clenched her fists. How many of these guys where there?

“Take them down,” the man said, nodding at Zoe and Book. “And wave Mrs Tam.”

Tam? Zoe swore inwardly.

“Tell her we’ve secured Serenity, and her children aren’t here.”

* “For the last time, we ain’t ever heard of Simon and River Tam,” Mal yelled, struggling frantically against the two guards holding him.

“Funny,” the man in charge said, “Your mechanic seems to think differently.”

Mal froze, and looked instinctively at Zoe, who was also flanked by two men. “My mechanic?”

The man nodded. “Sweet little girl. She got mistaken for River. She’s with Mrs Tam now. Don’t worry, she hasn’t been harmed…much.”

“You bur en dao guai wu!” Mal sneered, “She’s just an innocent…”

“Yes, I’m sure,” the man cut him off. “Sure she innocently looks the other way when your crew is on a job.”

Xia de fa dou, when I get my hands on you…”

“Sir,” Zoe said curtly, silencing him.

The man met Mal’s eyes, unafraid. “I won’t ask again. Where are Simon and River?”

Mal spat at the floor. “I ain’t telling you nothin’.”

“Very well.” Scanning his hostages, the man’s eyes landed on Inara. He nodded at her, and the guard holding her dragged her forwards. “The pretty lady will tell us.”

Inara looked up at him as he aimed his gun at her. “I’ll tell you nothing,” she said, and Mal felt a surge of admiration at her strong tone.

The man opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by a thunderous explosion that knocked everyone to their feet.

“What the-” Mal began, as the ramp began to lower.

As the dust settled, he saw a troop of over twenty men aiming their guns at his crew and their ‘guests.’ In the middle stood a well dressed man, completely unarmed, with an expression of great distaste on his face.

Gabriel Tam stepped forward.

“Sorry to interrupt,” he said smoothly. “I’m here for my children.”

Comments, please : )

Chapter Eight


Wednesday, June 13, 2007 1:27 PM


While I really liked Kaylee and Regan's conversations, I have no sympathy for Regan. She is Simon and River's mother and that should mean more to her than title.

And Gabriel - well, he's just a stinking pile of go se ... I am glad that Jayne and Simon found River and I love the nicknames you have Jayne using for River (fruit loop was inspired). But I am very concerned over River's reluctance to go get Kaylee. I'm glad she said she would show them, but I'm afraid it's not all going to end rosily.

Oh, the angst ... love it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 9:48 PM


While I'm still not sure about anyone's motives, I'm enjoying the story a lot!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 10:01 PM



That Regan Tam should realise that force is the last way to get Simon and River back. Simon will never trust her if she acts like this!

Can't wait to read more.

Thursday, June 14, 2007 3:09 AM


Please, please update!

Thursday, June 14, 2007 11:18 AM


Hmm, not sure if I like Regan or not. Seems like she is genuinely concerned for Simon and River.

Simon and Jayne's interactions continue to be a favorite of mine.

And damn papa Tam. Someone needs to shoot him between the eyeballs and be done with it! :)

Sunday, June 17, 2007 7:29 PM


Ya know...Regan herself, when she's with Kaylee, is all kinds of sympathetic. It's the fact she's hired some incompetent mercs to get her children back that cause the problem, IMO. It's a mixed message...she wants no violence and a simple reunion; the mercs don't seem to properly grasp that:(

And I too thought the "Simon and Jayne Show" routine was brilliantly done, since their conversations were definitely spot-on! River's wishy-washy reaction to saving Kaylee though? Give me pause...seems like there's a fine line to walk right now when it comes to getting Kaylee back safely.



You must log in to post comments.



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.