The picket fence
Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Simon's dreaming . . . no not about *that* you sickos . . .


Simon was dreaming. At least he was pretty sure he was. But that didn’t really concern him. It was a sunny day with a nice breeze. He was barefoot on soft grass and the air smelled sweet. Shoving his hands into his pockets, he walked up to a white picket fence and leaned against its rail to look over at the other side. There was grass there too, and Simon thought it was at least a shade greener. But he noticed, on the other side of the fence, there was another Simon Tam, who, despite the grasses obviously superior qualities, wasn’t barefoot, but rather was wearing shiny black shoes.

The other him was sitting at a beautiful rose wood desk, sounded by charts, x-rays and medical texts. He was dressed in a doctor’s bright white robes and his hair was clean and neat.

Simon couldn’t help but feel a little envious. He was dressed sloppily in baggy cargo pants and a plain white shirt he hand’t bothered to button up all the way. His hair was about a week overdue for a trim and hadn’t been coiffed so much as sloppily combed for months. And as he considered the grassy field behind him, he realized there was no richly oriented desk, no vast library of medical knowledge and nothing that would ever indicate that he was a doctor.

"Hey," Simon called over the fence to himself.

The doctor looked up, slight annoyance in his eyes. "I’m very busy trying to help River, so if you want something, please state it. If not, leave me alone."

Simon was surprised by his rudeness. "I’m sorry," he said, pulling himself away from the fence. "I was just wondering what you were doing."

"I thought I made it clear," the doctor said icily. "I’m looking for a cure for River."

"Cure?" Simon asked. "Cure what?"

"Surely you do not labor under the delusion that our sister is well," the doctor scoffed, adding. "But you hardly could, seeing as you don’t labor at all."

"I mean," Simon insisted. "She’s not sick. There’s no virus, no bacteria, no foreign threat encroaching on her system, threatening her life."

"Careless wording," the doctor said dismissively. "I’m trying to heal River."

"Can you?" Simon wondered. "She doesn’t really have a wound."

"Her amygdala was striped," the doctor reminded him.

"But you can’t give her another one, any more then you could re-grow and amputated hand."

The doctor looked at him critically, "Well, then, what do you propose to do?"

"I’m not sure," Simon admitted.

"Which is why you should leave River’s care to me," the doctor said with a condescending sigh, "I’m the one who works at a hospital, I’m the one whose life is medicine. If I need you to steal me something, I’ll let you know. Otherwise, please, let me work."

"Right," Simon said, nodding, and taking yet another step back. "I’ll do that then."

The doctor didn’t even say thank you, he just turned back to his work.

That’s when River came.

She was running along the fence rail, jumping over the posts gracefully. She was wearing her favorite pink dress and a brand new pair of white satin toe-shoes. And she was laughing. She looked so joyful, so sweet, so happy, that Simon couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of her. The doctor, however, wasn’t amused. "River, get down this instant!" he snapped.

"So this is how it is," the girl laughed, hopping up to stand on a fence post. "Identical opposite twins."

"Get down this instant," the doctor ordered again. "You’ll fall and break your neck."

"She’s fine," Simon assured the other him. "I can see her feet, she’s well balanced."

"This is too dangerous," the doctor said, getting out from behind his desk and walking up to the fence. "Get down now."

River turned to the doctor and stuck her tongue out at him, then, with a giggle, she pitched herself forward and did a cartwheel on the fence rail, landing with impossible grace on the next post. "See," she laughed as both Simons hurried down the fence to where she now stood. "I need to find my own balance. You can’t do it for me."

"You’re going to hurt yourself," the doctor practically shouted at her. "I demand you come down here. "

"Just be sure you’re careful, mèi mei," Simon said. He was concerned that she’d fall and hurt herself, but he also knew she was right. That other Simon--the doctor, with the medical texts and the drugs and the condescending attitude--couldn’t see her hands and feet from his side of the fence, the pickets were in the way. River was balanced, a bit precariously, but balanced nonetheless. The trick would be, Simon realized, being there to her when she fell.

"I know I can’t stay up here forever," she told the two men, looking down at both of them with pure affection. "But I don’t want grass stains on my new slippers."

"River, come down her," the doctor ordered. "I can make you better. I can make it so that you don’t have to go on the fence ever again."

"Die my slippers green," River giggled, then, turning to Simon. "And what can you do? What magic do you have in your hands?"

"Absolutely none," he told her apologetically.

"Don’t you think it’s neat?" the girl asked, from her lofty position. "That I can stand so high? That I can see so far? That I can hear so much?"

"You need to stand on the ground like a normal person," the doctor insisted. "You can’t live on that fence."

"No," River said, crestfallen. "I can’t."

"Can’t what?" Kaylee said as she walked up to the threesome. She’d been around, Simon realized. And the rest of Serenity’s crew was around there, somewhere.

"She’s going to fall," the doctor insisted. "And the damage done to her brain will become irreparable."

"Who’s this?" the mechanic asked Simon as she slipped her hand casually into his.

"Oh, this is me," Simon answered.

"I am not you," the doctor said vehemently.

"I see the resemblance," Kaylee said, squinting. "But I gotta agree with the doc. You ain’t him, Simon."

"Hi, Kaylee," River said loudly.

"Hey there, River," the mechanic answered, turning to look up at the younger girl and smiling. "How’s the view?"

"I can see the melody," River said excited. "Variations on a theme."

"Well, good for you," Kaylee answered warmly.

"Excuse me," the doctor said. "But why are you here?"

"Why shouldn’t I be here?" Kaylee asked, confused.

"She cares about River," Simon said. "And she’s certainly not doing any harm."

"Kaylee, Kaylee, look," River begged excitedly.

"'Kay," the mechanic said turning to the girl. "I’m watchin’."

River went on to perform an amazing series of spins and leaps while Kaylee applauded. Having given up talking to the two women, the doctor motioned for Simon to step closer to the fence for a private conference. "Look," the doctor said. "That di ji* girl is permitting our sister to do dangerous things."

"River knows what she’s doing."

"She could fall."

"She will fall," Simon answered. "I know she will."

"Wouldn’t you rather she be on the ground?"

"I don’t know that she could be happy on the ground," he mused. "Her slippers would definitely be ruined."

The doctor was shocked by his answer. "Would you rather she be happy or be alive?"

Simon thought about that for a moment, then he realized that he’d made that decision ages ago. "I’d rather she be happy." He said definitively. "I want her to live, but I don’t want her to live in pain, or live as a pawn, as someone else’s toy or tool."

"It’s better to be alive."

"It’s better to be free," Simon asserted.

"Then you’ll both die."

"At least we’ll die having lived," Simon said.

"Simon!" Kaylee’s voice said sharply, pulling the two men’s attention away from their philosophical conversation. "River, she’s . . ."

"I told you," the doctor said spitefully, hurrying to stand under River. The girl was pail and shaking. He joy and grace were gone and the way she swayed on the post made it pretty clear that her balance was going.

"She’ll die and it’ll be your fault," the doctor insisted.

"River," Simon called up, ignoring himself. "Tilt towards us, we’ll catch you!"

"I’m gonna fall forever," the girl sobbed.

"You’ll die before that," the doctor told her, as if that would be a comfort.

"No," Simon yelled. "We’ll catch you." He glanced at Kaylee and she gave him a supportive nod. "We’ll catch you," he told her again.

"Someone’s lying," the girl said, closing her eyes. "I hope it’s me." And with that she pitched to the side and started to fall.

The fence had only been about a meter and a half high, and yet, it seemed like she was falling for hours. Simon began to be afraid that the doctor was right, that she would die before she could be caught.

"We’re ready, though," Kaylee said, as if she were reading his mind. "'Tween all a us, we’ll be able to break her fall."

Simon nodded. The whole crew was suddenly there and they were all ready to catch River. It was a good feeling.

"You’re not enough," the doctor said from the other side of the fence. "She’ll still die."

"We’re plenty," Mal answered him defiantly.

And that’s when Simon caught her. She fell right into his arms, but he couldn’t quite break her fall. She was too heavy, easily three or four thousand pounds. But then Kaylee grabbed one of his arms, and Mal grabbed the other, and Inara helped Kaylee and Zoë helped Mal, and Book helped Inara, and Wash helped Zoë and Jayne braced the preacher and the pilot and River wasn’t so heavy at all. She was just heavy enough to be real.

The end

*Di ji- low class <0BDF41><0BDF41><3AD2B9><3AD2B9><986F16><986F16><802CFC><802CFC><4F6C25><4F6C25><5C8B63><5C8B63>


Tuesday, June 10, 2003 9:56 AM


Works in theory, but not in practice . . .

Tuesday, June 10, 2003 10:50 AM


Have you emailed Haken to tell him? Are you getting an error message, or is it just not deleting the file?

Tuesday, June 10, 2003 2:21 PM


You're not trying to delete this story are you? It's good -- others should have the chance to read it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003 1:32 PM


Don't you dare delete this story...its very good. Nice characterization...

Those gorram fox suits said they were going to waltz through the Serenity fans...we choked them on those words, and that makes us mighty!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2005 5:06 PM


Wonderful Simon characterization!

It shows how Simon has changed. How he's now more accepting, and happier about life.

Nice job! :)

Saturday, November 4, 2006 7:37 AM


I think this is absolutely amazing! Very interesting take on Simon's character.


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The fall out when Two by Two catch up with Simon and River

Honeyed Thorns: Part five of five
A happy return to the status quo

Honeyed Thorns: part four of five
Simon tries to bring back Inara, Kaylee confesses, and Mal discovers that prison is a good place to network.

Honeyed Thorns: part thee of five
All that stuff that happened in the first to chapters . . . it keeps going, only racier and more exciting.

Honeyed Thorns: part two of five
Inara leaves, Mal’s arrested, Kaylee’s rescued by a talk, blond, and handsome stranger and Simon gets a history lesson

Honeyed Thorns: Part one of five
Inara leaves Serenity after realizing Kaylee’s big enough to look after herself and there are lots of men on the ship that can help her move her things. (Follow-up to “Heart of Gold”)

The picket fence
Simon's dreaming . . . no not about *that* you sickos . . .

A not so happy ending
This is the last chapter to “Ties that Bind” for space reason’s (and because it doesn’t really have anything to do with the over all plot) It didn’t get attached.

Ties that Bind: Home and Family
A long string of warm fuzzies.

Ties that Bind: Time to Leave
A great escape, a fist fight, heart reaching confessions, unabashed flirting, and tearful goodbyes . . . what else could you want?