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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
A one-shot that came out of nowhere. Set five years after the BDM. All Simon/Kaylee and their daughter, Airen.
A surprise pregnancy does not bring the joy it should. Angsty, angsty, angsty!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1325 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: I really wanted to post this yesterday so it could coincide with Father's Day, but I didn't make it. So, consider it a late Father's Day tribute ...
Thanks to Kaynara for the beta and Leighkohl for giving me some plot bunnies after I wrote the opening and didn't know where to take it.
Completely unrelated to anything - independent of my current series, Second Chances.
Standing in the doorway to the infirmary, Airen Tam watched her father with a mixture of curiosity and amusement. Being only four, she didn't understand much of what her father was doing. From what mommy said it had something to do with being 'anal-tented,' but Airen was pretty sure she wasn't supposed to know that word and so she'd never asked for a definition. Besides, when mommy had said it, she'd been smiling and then she'd kissed daddy, so Airen assumed it was really okay.
Her father stood with his back to her now but she knew he was deep in thought. His right hand was scribbling hurriedly in his journal, his head moving from left to right as he glanced at the scope and its readouts before he wrote down the important information in one of the crew's charts. Airen really hoped it wasn't overly serious. She didn't want anybody to be hurt.
Speaking of which ... Stepping over the threshold, Airen moved to her father's side, standing just under his right elbow. She was growing fast, but was still pretty small and so the top of her dark-haired head fell just under her father's bent arm. As his eyes swung back to verify the data he'd just written, he caught sight of her and started slightly.
"Airen, honey, you startled me."
Smiling her big smile, the one everyone said looked like her mommy's, Airen shrugged. "Sorry."
Returning her smile as it was impossible not to, Simon dropped his stylus on the counter, before going down on his haunches before her. Meeting her intense hazel eyes with his blue, her father smiled even wider and asked, "What are you doing here?"
Taking a step closer, Airen didn't answer him right away, but simply placed her small hand to his cheek. In a quiet voice, she finally asked, "Why's mommy crying?"
Her father's blue eyes immediately clouded, darkening to a shade of blue Auntie Inara called navy. Reaching for the hand she'd place to his face, Simon took it in his own and asked, "Where is mommy, Airen? Is she hurt?"
Shrugging, Airen said, "She hurts, on the inside. Her heart is crying."
Swallowing thickly, Simon scooped his daughter into his arms, knowing something was truly wrong when Airen did not fight the motion. She was fiercely independent and often hated being carried - well, unless it was Jayne who hoisted her onto his shoulders and paraded her around the cargo bay so she could get the ball through the hoop during their more laid back games.
As she wrapped her small arms around his neck, he felt her sigh heavily as if releasing a great weight. "I don't like it, daddy."
"I know, bao bei," he whispered, reaching for his med kit before heading for the door. "I'll fix it, don't worry."
Sighing once more, Airen let the steady lull of her father's heart and his comforting scent envelope her as they hurried towards her mother.
Neither Simon nor Kaylee had quite been prepared for their eldest child to be a reader. At the age of one, Airen – still a baby, would cry uncontrollably when any of the crew was injured or fuss during one of Mal and Inara’s famous fights. It had been devastating to both parents to watch their daughter cry and be unable to help her. It had often reduced Kaylee to tears and Simon to panic as he’d feared something was physically wrong with his child that he could not diagnose.
Therefore, while hard to accept, it had been a disguised blessing the day River had revealed to her brother and his wife that Airen’s moods were directly affected by the crew – more specifically, by the negative emotions of the crew. It had all made sense then and thankfully Simon and Kaylee, already accustomed to dealing with River’s abilities began to adjust to their daughter’s.
Holding her tightly in his arms, Simon walked quickly towards the engine room, pausing in the doorway as he searched for Kaylee’s feet, poking out from beneath Serenity’s mechanical heart. Airen however had no such hesitation. The minute they arrived, she twisted out of her father’s arms forcing him to set her down lest he drop her.
“Mommy,” she called, bolting towards the engine and tugging on her mother’s exposed pantleg.
At the sound of her child’s voice, Kaylee, like all good mothers, felt joy and just a bit of fear. Sliding out from under the machine, Kaylee reached for a rag to wipe her hands as Airen threw herself into her mother’s arms. “It’ll be okay,” the little girl whispered, pressing a kiss to her mother’s cheek. “I brought daddy.”
Struggling to sit up, Kaylee kept one arm around her daughter as she met Simon’s concerned gaze over the child’s head. “Well, what’s all this about?” she asked, doing her best to keep the tension out of her voice at the sight of her husband’s concern.
Before Simon could respond Airen leaned back, giving her a small smile. “Silly mommy. Daddy can fix anything.”
Swallowing hard, Kaylee felt her heart plummet to her feet as she met Airen’s intense gaze. She had tried to keep her feelings in cheek as River had trained both she and Simon. It pained Kaylee more than she could ever say that she could inadvertently hurt her child so deeply. She had wanted to spare her this pain, but like her overly bright husband and sister-in-law, it appeared there wasn’t much Kaylee could get past her daughter.
Putting on her bravest face, Kaylee smoothed Airen’s unruly curls back from her face and smiled wide. “Daddy doesn’t have to fix me, sweetie. I’m fine.”
Her expression growing cross, Airen scowled in an almost perfect impression of her father. “Lying’s bad.”
“So is sassin’,” Kaylee countered, her expression stern, but soft around the eyes.
Sighing, Airen turned back to her father and said, “Sorry, daddy. I thought she’d let you fix it.”
Simon was still in the doorway, his attention riveted for the past moments as he’d watched mother and daughter interact. He’d been looking for clues as to what could possibly have Kaylee upset, but as Airen’s dejected gaze fell to him, Simon let his concern take over.
Moving fully into the room, Simon squatted next to Airen, his daughter moving into his arms and leaning against him with a tired sigh. Which unequivocally told Simon something was wrong.
And apparently, Kaylee knew it to. She averted his intense gaze, quickly rising and moving to her workbench.
Following her with his eyes, now that Simon looked closer he could see the tension in Kaylee’s posture. He doubted she was ill, he would have more readily recognized symptoms, but something was wrong.
“She’s scared,” Airen whispered. Simon turned to face her and immediately hugged her to him. The fear in her eyes was enough to set his heart to pounding. “Thinks she did something wrong.” Forcing her eyes to her father’s face, Airen ordered solemnly, “Don’t yell.”
“Airen, your mommy and I don’t yet. That’s Uncle Captain and Auntie Inara.”
Airen smiled weakly at her father’s joke, before pressing a kiss to his cheek. “Wo ai ni, da-da.”
Squeezing her tight, Simon whispered the words back to her. Wondering if he could ask River to watch her while he got to the bottom of whatever was wrong with his wife, his silent question was answered as Airen said, “Auntie, can we play a game?”
Turning, both Simon and Kaylee glanced to the doorway taking in River’s lithe form. Smiling wide, she held out her hand to her niece. With another kiss for her father, Airen headed towards the door, gripping her aunt’s hand tightly. “Of course, bao bei. What game do you want to play?”
Their voices faded as they headed towards the galley and Simon released a heavy sigh before rising, his knees cracking from the uncomfortable position. Kaylee was still facing the workbench and Simon felt his heart pounding uncomfortably. Now that Airen was gone his concern for Kaylee consumed him. And his fear that whatever was wrong, he could not fix it.
“Kaylee, talk to me.”
Simon’s entreaty hit her in her gut and Kaylee closed her eyes, letting out a slow breath to try and collect herself. Still refusing to look at him, she tried to sound casual. “Sweetie, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with me. Rennie prolly jus’ got some o’ her signals crossed.”
Closing his eyes, Simon resisted the urge to curse. “Kaylee, you know that’s not the case. Airen’s signals don’t get crossed.” Moving to her side, Simon studied her profile, his heart in his throat. “Is it me? Did I-“
“Oh, Simon,” Kaylee breathed, turning to him in an instant and leaning heavily against his broad chest.
His arms immediately encircled her, his hands resting gently against the small of her back. He could feel her trembling and Simon allowed himself to again entertain the notion that she might be ill.
“Tell me, bao bei,” he whispered, his lips resting against her forehead. “Whatever it is, I can help.”
“No, you can’t.” Kaylee sniffled and then released a sigh that deflated her entire body. Leaning back, her sad green eyes met his, her expression full of despair. Simon had seen it before, but not for some time. “I’m pregnant,” she finally admitted, holding his gaze for just another second before curling into his body again.
Joy and fear warred for dominance in Simon’s heart, even as his brain tried to comprehend how this could have happened. “Are you sure?” he asked, his voice hoarse. “We’ve been so careful.”
Nodding, Kaylee wished she were wrong. “I’m two weeks late, honey. ‘Nara let me use one o’ her tests this morning.”
“I should still confirm it.” Simon couldn’t help it. It was his automatic reaction – to be the doctor. And if they were going to weather this they had to be certain.
“Kaylee, please.” Cupping her face in his hands, Simon met her watery gaze. “Please, for me?”
Nodding reluctantly, Kaylee looped her arm about Simon’s waist as his stayed strong and steady around her shoulders. In silence, they headed for the infirmary.
River smoothed her hand through Airen’s hair as the little girl continued to color. “Mei li, Rennie,” she commented, taking in the beautiful rendition of blue sky and a green meadow replete with wildflowers her niece had deftly drawn.
Airen continued in silence and River could sense her unease. Taking a closer look at the picture, River pointed to two dark squares she’d colored into the field and asked, “What are those, bao bei?”
Her colored pencil never pausing, the little girl replied with a sigh, “My mei mei and di di.”
Her fingers continued to comb soothingly through Ren’s hair even as River felt the little one’s tension rise. Still coloring, she asked, “Gu ma, why couldn’t mommy have them, like me?”
“What did daddy tell you?” River asked, knowing Simon and Kaylee had painstakingly tried to explain both miscarriages to the child.
“That mommy got sick and the baby’s couldn’t live.”
River did her best to control her own feelings, knowing her remembered pain for Kaylee and Simon would only serve to aggravate her sensitive niece more.
“It’s sad,” she said with a sigh, turning to lean into her aunt’s side.
“I know, baby,” River murmured, closing her eyes. River could feel Kaylee and Simon’s anxiety in waves and she knew Airen could feel it too.
“Are you using the tricks I taught you?” she asked, her cheeks resting against Airen’s hair.
“It’s hard,” the little girl replied and River could hear the struggle and fatigue in her voice.
“I’ll help,” River assured, holding Airen tightly to her and encasing the girl’s fragile mind within the strong walls River had built through years of pratice.
“You were right.” Simon’s voice held no emotion much to Kaylee’s surprise. She’d been sure he would be angry – angry that she had managed to get into this position.
Nodding numbly, Kaylee studied her grime covered fingers intently, unable to look at him and see the disappointment in his gaze.
Deliberately, Simon disposed of the testing equipment, rinsing his hands quickly. His mind was a blank slate, unable to comprehend this development since the last miscarriage a little over a year ago, he and Kaylee had been unbelievably careful. At first it had killed their sex life, both of them too uptight to truly enjoy the act. But as the first months passed and Kaylee had not gotten pregnant, they’d somehow learned to live with the fear, even taking joy in one another again as they had at the start of their relationship. Now it seemed as though they’d gotten too lax once again. Meaning the end result could make Simon a widower and Airen mother-less.
“I can’t go through it again, Simon.” Kaylee’s whispered voice sliced through Simon’s thoughts like the sharpest blade. Spinning quickly, he took in his wife’s trembling form and moved forward, arms outstretched to embrace her.
Shying away from his touch, Kaylee slid off the exam table, sidestepping him and crossing the room. Hugging her arms about her midsection, she continued to avoid his gaze as she added, “I can’t lose another baby.”
“Maybe you won’t,” Simon offered unconvincingly. He was not a gynecologist and in truth was still baffled as to why their last two pregnancies had failed. Kaylee was healthy and young, two factors that normally boded well for expectant woman. And yet, instead of being parents three times over, the two of them were still nursing the heartache of missed opportunities. And the fear – fear it would happen again and fear that Kaylee would not survive physically if it did. And that neither of them would survive emotionally either.
“That’s what you thought last time,” she reminded him, her voice no less shaky, although a note of anger had crept in. “But it ended up in here, didn’t it?”
Faced with the choice of fear or anger, Kaylee chose the latter, whirling on her husband, watery green eyes blazing. “I still ended up killin’ our baby.”
Gasping, Simon reached for her, his grip on her shoulders tight and unyielding even as she tried to back away.
“Simon, please.” Kaylee sobbed, her small fists clinging to his shirt front. “I can’t, I can’t. Please.”
Muscles tight with tension and grief, Simon wrapped his arms around her, cradling her tightly to his chest. “Kaylee, it’ll be all right.” He kept murmuring comforting words. She shook so violently, Simon rocked occasionally as well. Slowly, he backed them up, leaning against the med table in the middle of the room, allowing Kaylee to snuggle into him more readily.
With swollen eyes and blotchy cheeks, Kaylee lifted her face to meet Simon’s gaze. “What’re we gonna do?” she rasped, her voice a breathy shudder.
Sighing, Simon thought carefully before speaking, knowing that unlike the dozens of other times he’d misspoken before, his words now could shatter his fragile wife.
“As your doctor,” he said slowly, his voice a reflection of calm. “I would recommend that we end the pregnancy.”
Tears welled again in Kaylee’s eyes, her lower lip trapped between her teeth in an effort to keep it from trembling. Hands reflexively falling to her flat stomach, she breathed, “Simon-“
“Kaylee, you almost died last time,” he reminded her needlessly. The scene was indelibly burned into his memory – his normally spotless infirmary awash in Kaylee’s blood. She’d hemorrhaged and Simon had almost watched her bleed to death.
“But Simon,” Kaylee breathed again, her eyes searching his for understanding. “It’s a baby, our baby.”
“I know that.”
His voice was hard, but quiet and the combination sent an unpleasant tingle down Kaylee’s spine. She could see the fire smoldering in his blue eyes, the one that always flared when Simon felt cornered.
“But Kaylee, if the choice is between your life and the baby’s, I can’t –“ Closing his eyes, Simon took a deep breath. He and Kaylee had never had cause to argue about their respective faiths. It had been obvious to him from pretty early on that Kaylee believed in a higher power, not Inara’s Buddha or the Shepherd’s God, but something, something that had more control and omniscience than everyday people.
He knew it was this belief that often dictated many of Kaylee’s actions. It was the foundation that her morals had been built upon and Simon knew a large part of those ethics was the distinction between right and wrong. And terminating this pregnancy – in essence, killing their unborn child – would fall solidly on the side of wrong.
But Simon’s faith was in medicine and it was unshakable. He had almost failed Kaylee last time, almost watched her bleed to death before his eyes. Almost had to explain to his daughter why she no longer had a mother. Almost had to explain to the Captain and Inara why they no longer had a mei mei. Almost had to explain to Serenity why she no longer had anyone to care for her. Simon would give anything to avoid living through those painful instances of “almost” again.
“We can’t kill it,” Kaylee breathed, her wide eyes painfully frightened as she backed away from him. His heart sank to his toes as he saw the way she trembled and he knew it was fear – fear of him, of what he might try to convince her to do. It turned his stomach. “Simon, it’s jus’ a baby, a lil’ life, we can’t-“
“I don’t want to,” he told her, his tone plaintive, pleading. “You think I want this? You think I want to have to make this choice? I can’t raise Airen by myself, Kaylee. I don’t …” Dropping his gaze to the decking, Simon released a heavy sigh and felt his shoulders fall. “I can’t live in a ‘verse without you in it.”
Tears welling, Kaylee moved towards him, smoothing her hands along the sides of his head, brushing his soft hair between her fingers. Lifting his face to meet her gaze, she swallowed hard and said, “You ain’t gonna, Simon. There’s gotta be a reason why we’re pregnant now. We been so careful, it’s gotta be fate or somethin’.”
Simon would never have believed in fate even a year ago. His background and training had demonstrated to him how implacable some things could be, how impossible it was to forsake the power of medicine and science.
But he had no other choice at this moment. Believing that this new life might be some kind of blessing, some kind of destiny was far more acceptable than the devastating thought that in the next months, he and Kaylee might have to grieve the loss of another child and that he might have to again perform a miracle to save her.
Sighing heavily, his eyes dropped closed. Resting his forehead against hers, Simon fought the despair that flared in him. “You and Airen are more important to me than anything, Kaylee. I can’t lose you, but-“
“But we gotta care for this lil’ one,” she interrupted softly, her warm breath whispering over his lips. “A baby’s a blessing. We gotta remember how precious that is.”
Nodding slightly in agreement, one of Simon’s hands trailed down Kaylee’s shoulder, running around to cover the one she had placed to her belly. Entwining her fingers with his, Kaylee opened her eyes and whispered, “I love you.”
“I love you,” Simon breathed, before tipping his face forward and covering Kaylee’s soft lips with his own. He tasted salt water and sweetness and the smallest hint of engine grease and he tightened his hold on her trying, however foolishly, to protect her and their baby. “I’ll do everything I can, Kaylee. I promise, I won’t-“
“It ain’t never been your fault, sweetie.” Kaylee trailed her fingers along his jaw smiling slightly as he turned his lips to her fingers and kissed them softly. “It ain’t a cause to place blame. It’s somethin’ to be celebrated.”
Simon had to hope and in the face of Kaylee’s shining eyes and tentative smile, he had no other choice.
“Please be right,” Simon whispered, holding her tightly again. “We will survive this, no matter the outcome.”
“I believe you,” Kaylee whispered, her lips tickling his neck. “We’re gonna be all right, Simon Tam. You gotta believe that too.”
“I do, bao bei,” Simon whispered back, his lips against her temple. “I do.”
Both them could only hope their faith was not misplaced.
Eight months and one week later, Faith Winnet Tam was born, confirming for everyone what Airen Tam had always known: her father could fix anything.
Monday, June 18, 2007 2:28 PM
Monday, June 18, 2007 2:30 PM
Monday, June 18, 2007 2:35 PM
Monday, June 18, 2007 10:04 PM
Tuesday, June 19, 2007 12:24 AM
Tuesday, June 19, 2007 12:32 AM
Tuesday, June 19, 2007 2:42 AM
Wednesday, June 20, 2007 5:32 AM
Friday, June 22, 2007 3:48 PM
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