BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ADVENTURE

HERMITSREST

One Careful Owner - Part One
Thursday, November 8, 2007

Kaylee and Simon are getting married, but first Simon has to meet the family, including Kaylee’s three older brothers. 12th fanfic featuring post BDM characters and a few of my own creation. You may want to read no.11 to find out how Serenity picked up 2 passengers, but it’s not crucial. Grateful thanks to BlueEyedBrigadier for the beta. Part 1 of 3.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2456    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

“Excuse me, Kaylee,” Abram started. Kaylee looked up from the engine and frowned. Passengers were not supposed to come to this area of the ship. Abram saw her look and kept talking. “Forgive me. I remembered you talking at breakfast about needing to clean out the resistor before we landed, and it being a long and messy job. Was just goin’ to offer to help.” Kaylee’s face crumpled with delight.

“You know engines, Abe?”

“Was my trade once upon a time ago, but people don’t look to hirin’ an old man no more.” Kaylee looked at him with sympathy and then handed him the tool she had in her hand.

“Age don’t make no difference ta me, Granpa. I’d be glad o’ the help.” She stood back and Abram became aware that he was being tested. He went to the open panel and unscrewed it. Kaylee watched curiously over his shoulder as he worked. After a bit she joined him in the task. The job was completed in a couple of hours, half the time, “You’ve looked after a Firefly before, haven’t you?” she said when they had stopped for a break. Abram looked around the engine room, taking in the hammock and Kaylee’s own very special décor. This ship was loved.

“None as fine as this one,” he replied with genuine feeling. “How’s the coupler? One I looked after was always gettin’ jammed up.” Kaylee loved it that she could talk mechanic with someone else without them looking at her like she was spouting another language.

“It was in a bad state when I came on board an’ I always had to keep an’ eye on it, but I finally managed to replace the whole thing with a Fitzwarren turbine coupler last Christmas. Ain’t had no problems outta it since!”

“Would’ve never thought o’ that,” said Abram, very impressed, “A Fitzwarren’s an old design though, how’d you get hold of one in such good condition?”

“I know people,” Kaylee grinned. “Like I said, age don’t make no difference to me – long as it’s right for Serenity.” Abram took the compliment as it was meant and felt he had met someone very special.

“You have a gift, Kaylee,” he said not necessarily referring to her engineering skills. Kaylee moved over to the power ducts and unscrewed the access panels. This time Abram peered over her shoulder. She pulled out some of the wiring explaining that she thought one of them had burned out. Behind the wires Abram saw there was some old graffiti and he squinted to try and read it. “Wu de tyen ah,” he said and stumbled backwards. Kaylee had not looked behind her and misinterpreted his shocked statement.

“I know. When I came aboard this stuff was all over and in the oddest places. I’ve managed to paint over most of it, but there are just some places that are hard to get to. And the strangest phrases too.” Now she looked around. “Are you alright, Abe? You look very pale.” Abram had backed away from the engine.

“I’m alright. I – I think I may have overdone it.”

“Oh, okay,” replied Kaylee, worried, “Thanks for your help though.” Abram had stepped hurriedly out of the door.

“No – thank you,” replied Abram, his voice cracking as he rushed away. The memories were too strong and he stumbled again going down the stairs, just managing to catch himself from falling but wrenching his wrist in the process. At the bottom, in the cargo bay, he took some deep breaths.

“You alright, Abe?” said Jayne coming up to him. He had been lifting weights when he had heard the man cry out. He saw that he was holding his wrist and that he was covered in grease and oil. “Whatcha bin doin’?” Abram composed himself before looked up at the man.

“Was helpin’ young Kaylee. Slipp’d on the stairs, is all.”

“Let me take you to the doc,” replied Jayne and made it clear it was not a suggestion. Last thing they needed was a paying passenger to get himself injured – not good for business. Simon was in the Med Bay examining Bane’s eyes and trying to get River to stop blocking the light as her curiosity got the better of her.

“Finally surfaced, did ya?” Jayne leered briefly. Due to the fact Simon had his hands on her face, Bane responded to the teasing tone in the merc’s voice with a rude hand gesture, only noticing Abram was with Jayne when the bigger man stepped aside. “Think Abram’s done somethin’ to his wrist.” River backed away and Bane saw her eyes tear up.

“What’s wrong, River?” she asked quietly. River glanced at her briefly.

“Too much sadness,” she whispered and ran past Simon and out of the Med Bay, drawing to concerned looks from the others present. Bane vacated the couch she had been sitting on so that Simon could examine him better. She looked thoughtfully at Abram as he did it, aware that she had been the only one to hear River’s statement. He looked like he was wrestling with something and it was not the pain.

“What have you been doing?” Simon asked.

“Helping Kaylee,” explained Abram, and then added quickly, “But I did this coming down the stairs, not in the engine room.” Simon looked disbelievingly at him.

“Kaylee should have known better than to let someone so frail do that type of work.” Jayne frowned at Simon, there was no need to be rutting insulting.

“’S’true, doc. I was in the gym. He tripped or something.”

“Mmmm,” was Simon’s non-committal reply. His own hands became plastered by oil as he examined Abram’s wrist. While they were busy Jayne spoke to Bane again.

“So you got Karl tied to your bed or somethin’?”

“No. He’s up in the galley,” she stated conversationally.

“You reckon he’d like it though or maybe-,” Jayne began and was about to get cruder when Esper came into the Med Bay.

“Father! Are you alright?”

“Fine, dear,” Abram replied. Having all the people around him had helped him compose himself. Bane saw how Jayne’s eyes followed her and it was time for payback.

“Looks like you’ve got somethin’ else to keep you occupied ‘sides me an’ Karl an’ our sexin’ positions,” she said loudly, patting his upper arm.

“Shut it,” hissed Jayne.

“What?” said Esper, her attention briefly distracted by Jayne’s harsh tone. Bane smirked and spoke.

“Jayne brought your father in. Seems he fell on the stairs.” Esper looked at him with gratitude.

“Thank you, Jayne,” she said with considerable feeling. Jayne flushed, torn between keeping eye contact with Esper and pushing Bane out of an airlock. Simon was feeling crowded and spoke up.

“Looks like it’s just a muscle strain and nothing’s broken. I have a strap that you can wear, but you’ll need to wash your hands first.” Esper sighed with relief, the last thing they needed when going to a new planet was medical costs.

“Thank you, lad – sorry, thank you, doctor,” Abram corrected, with the same condescending tone Simon had used with him a few moments ago. Simon was suitably chastened, realising that he had been rude to the old man. Esper looked at her father and saw there was something else worrying him.

“What is it? Are you in pain somewhere else?” she bit her lip anxiously. Abram looked at her and tried to smile cheerfully.

“Nothin’, child. Jus’ feelin’ old.” Esper swallowed a retort. They were amongst strangers, however nice they were, and he only used that tone when it was something he did not want to discuss under any circumstances.

~ * ~

“We had an injury, Captain,” Simon informed Mal. He had been meaning to speak to him for a while, but other things had kept getting in the way.

“Nothin’ serious I hope?”

“Nothing serious. The old man hurt his wrist.”

“Okay,” said Mal, and then looked up at Simon who had not moved. “Somethin’ else on yer mind, doc?” Simon took that as his cue and sat in River’s chair.

“We’re landing on Highgate soon.”

“Coupla hours,” confirmed Mal. Simon shifted and Mal could see the man was uncomfortable. “You don’t haveta worry ‘bout Kaylee’s brothers, you know. S’obvious that you love the girl – they’ll see that eventually.”

“Before or after they string me up?” he mused. Mal laughed. When Simon was trying to be funny he usually got it all kinds of wrong but when he was not trying to be funny, he really could be.

“Well, that’ll be interesting to see, won’t it?” he added.

“Captain – er, Mal,” began Simon nervously, “I – I realise that on the ship, tha-“

“Spit it out, doc – top three per cent, remember?” Mal said impatiently. Simon sighed heavily and Mal tensed, worried that it was going to be bad news. He supposed he should get used to it.

“I want you to be my best man, Mal,” he rushed. Mal’s mouth opened and he stopped slouching in the chair.

“Well, that’s something I didn’t expect. Thank you,” he paused, thinking, “Would that include me organisin’ the stag party?”

“No,” urged Simon, “I don’t want one of those. It’s not necessary.” Yeh, right, thought Mal. “I would just want you to stand up with me in church.”

“I don’t know about that, doc,” said Mal uncomfortably.

“I know you don’t hold with God or anything, Mal. But you don’t have to say or do anything, just be there.” There was a note of pleading in Simon’s voice that Mal could not disappoint him.

“Okay, doc. I’ll do it – but only on condition that there’s a stag party of some kind. Gotta work myself up to the idea of goin’ back into church.” Simon missed the sardonic note to Mal’s voice and nodded seriously.

“Alright – but nothing too…” Simon searched for a word but Mal added,

“Raucous?”

“Yes,” he replied with relief and he left the cockpit. Mal smiled after him and got on the com.

“Jayne! Get up here,” he ordered.

~ * ~

Not everyone went to the Frye house after Serenity landed on Highgate. Mal and Zoe had met Kaylee’s parents before so they went as well as River, Simon and, of course Kaylee. The area which they lived always reminded Mal of Eavesdown on Persephone, without the underlying criminal element. Someone must have been keeping watch for them as when they approached their single storey house her family were all waiting outside. And Mal saw, smirking to himself, Kaylee’s three brothers were stood side by side and armed; clones of their father. Kaylee ran towards them joyfully but Simon remained with the others, using them for protection. Kaylee’s mother, Winnie, embraced her daughter and started to cry. It had been so long since they had seen her.

“They don’t like you,” said River, loudly and unnecessarily on account of the expressions on their faces. They might as well have drawn their guns.

“Bi zui,” hissed Simon, getting thoroughly annoyed at his sister. He walked forward to Kaylee’s father and held out his hand. Kaylee looked around from hugging her mother and watched. “Sir – er, Mr Frye. I’m pleased to meet you.” Ray Frye starred down at the boy and then across at Captain Reynolds who nodded. Simon could feel the sweat rolling down the inside of his shirt. Ray took Simon’s hand and squeezed it warmly.

“Welcome, son. Come on in.” Simon looked visibly relieved. He recovered himself enough to introduce River to them. River shook Ray’s hand seriously, her head tilted back to look at him.

“You’re a genius too,” she stated. Ray’s bushy eyebrows rose considerably and his face cracked into a grin that was just like Kaylee’s. He laughed and slapped River on the back making her stagger forward. He held on to her shoulders and leaned down to whisper loudly in her ear, looking at Simon.

“Is your brother as smart as you?” River looked up at him.

“No, but he’ll do. He loves her very much – yucky style.” Simon wished the ground would open up and swallow him.

“Enough of the teasing, Ray,” said Winnie impatiently. She came up to Simon and hugged him warmly. He was then introduced to Kaylee’s brothers, Ray Jr, Archie and Lewis who all shook his hand in bone-crushing grips. Did they not know he needed that hand to perform intricate surgery, thought Simon. Afterwards, they were all ushered in to the modest house.

“Now, I’ve booked the church for two day’s time – not bein’ entirely certain when you would arrive.” Winnie watched her daughter’s face light up as she clasped the hand of her intended. She could see that her daughter was clearly in love with the boy. He was not anything like the man she had imagined her daughter would come home with, and looked like he had a silver spoon shoved firmly up his pi gu.

“Question is, Kaylee-girl,” said her father fondly, “Who do you wanna invite?”

“Everyone,” she answered enthusiastically. Mal and Zoe glanced at each other, concerned, and then turned to see Simon looking at them worriedly as well. Mal was not sure exactly how much Kaylee had told them about Simon and River.

“Kaylee. Can I have a word?” he said. Kaylee looked confused but followed Mal from the room. Both her parents and her brothers looked to Simon for an answer. All Simon could do was stare blankly back and smile nervously.

“What is it Captain?” she asked as soon as they were alone.

“Kaylee, ain’t you forgettin’ that Simon an’ River have a bounty on their heads? If you invite too many people, word’s bound to get out. Where do you think the Alliance’ll come lookin’ first?” He did not wait for her to answer, but watched the words sink in and then added, “What have you told your parents about Simon?” Kaylee looked a little guilty.

“Not a lot. Just that he was a doctor and he served on Serenity like me.” Mal folded his arms and looked at his mechanic.

“You don’t think they deserve to know the whole truth?” Mal was aware that he was hearing absolutely no sound coming from the room next door. Kaylee hung her head.

“Yes,” she mumbled, “But can you tell them? You have such a good way of explainin’ things an’ if I do it, I’ll only get it wrong and my brothers’ll likely throw Simon outta the house…” Mal blew the air out of his mouth, then pressed his lips together.

“You’ll owe me for this, lil’ Kaylee,” he retorted, opening the door. Simon looked visibly relieved that they had come back in the room.

“You gonna explain what’s going on?” asked Ray Jr, echoing everyone else’s thoughts. Mal sat back down in the chair and looked towards Simon before talking.

“Kaylee ain’t told you much about Simon here it seems, and, bein’ as your about to be related to him you’ve a right to know.”

“A right to know what?” said Winnie.

“I’ve a price on my head,” stated Simon.

“Me too,” added River. Ray and Winnie looked at each other. The Tams seemed well bred and they could not imagine what they were wanted for. Mal set them straight.

“They’ve done nothing wrong, let me assure you. Simon rescued his sister from a lab where they were conducting experiments on her. For that they are both wanted by the Alliance.”

“And you still want to marry him, even with a price on his head?” Ray Frye asked his daughter. He could already see the answer in her face.

“I know what it looks like, sir,” began Simon, “But I want to assure you that I want to spend my life with Kaylee and provide for her.”

“That’s all very well, son. But what happens when the Alliance catches up with you?” River felt Simon’s dejection. That was the main problem he had with working his courage up to asking her to marry him in the first place. She stood up and faced the Frye family, feeling their disapproval.

“They deserve to have all the happiness they can. We’ve managed to avoid the Alliance for nearly three years and Simon was all ready to just walk away from her, because he did not want to bring Kaylee down with us. But he could not leave her – he would die for her. It’s me the Alliance want anyway, not Simon.”

“River,” warned Zoe who could see Kaylee’s parents were being overwhelmed. Simon had already put his arm around his sister’s shoulders and Kaylee stood up, facing her parents with determination filling her expression.

“I’m marryin’ this man cuz I love him. That ain’t gonna change whether the Alliance catch up with us or not. I’ll marry him here or I’ll marry him elsewheres, but I’m marryin’ him.

“I suppose a smaller gathering will make it all the sweeter,” Winnie said quietly.

~ * ~

After Abram had insisted he just wanted to be left alone Esper went to find Jayne to thank him for helping her father. He was in the gym area and was pulling himself up on a metal bar. He was also wearing an old stained vest but she could see his dark chest hair and the sweat soaking the material. He was not an easy man to ignore and she knew she could not let herself get to liking him too much, however attractive he was. They would be landing on Highgate soon to start over so she would not see him again. She was a little relieved at that thought and stepped in so he could see her.

“Hey, Esper,” said Bane quickly. Esper had not seen her at first, but saw she was playing with some hand weights against the metal wall.

“Er, hello,” she replied nervously. Jayne had lowered himself to the floor as soon as he saw her. “I jus’ came to thank Jayne for helping my father earlier.”

“Was nothin’,” Jayne shrugged, drying the sweat off himself with a towel. Bane was feeling like giving payback again.

“He helps people all the time,” she said, “Fact he’s a proper saint. Saint Jayne.” Bane got a face full of Jayne’s sweaty towel which she pulled off her face in disgust. Esper twisted the rings on her hand nervously.

“I wanted to offer to make dinner by way of a thank you.” Jayne looked over at Bane willing her not to speak.

“It’s not necessary really,” he replied, embarrassed. Esper looked around at Bane too and Bane realised that she was seriously not wanted. Much as she would have like to stay and make Jayne feel uncomfortable, she got up and left quickly for the shower. Alone again, Jayne and Esper both relaxed, returning to how they had been in the café on Whittier. Esper cleared her throat, still distracted by Jayne standing in front of her all sweaty. Jayne saw the look; his experience with women had taught him to be alert to these things, but for some reason he curbed his wolfish inviting smile, afraid she would bolt.

“I’d like to – for everyone I mean. I know we’re passengers, but we should take our turn.” Jayne walked closer towards her and Esper used all her willpower not to take a step back.

“I reckon it shouldn’t be too difficult. We got us some new provisions on Whittier so’s you’ve a bit to choose from.” She nodded and Jayne sat on the lifting bench. He saw Esper’s shoulders untense and then she smiled.

“Something better than beef pie and coffee, then?” she suggested. Jayne grinned.

“The beef pie was very tasty, if a little fatty.” He knew she had not made it, so he was comfortable with being honest.

“What is your favourite meal?” she asked. Jayne reached for the towel he had chucked at Bane and wiped his neck again, thinking. He then shrugged.

“I don’t really have one – though don’t tell Bane otherwise she’ll see it as a mind-readin’ challenge to find out.”

“What was the favourite meal your mother used to cook?” Esper asked. Jayne blinked, surprised by the question. He leaned back against the bar.

“Well now, no one’s thought to ask me that before.” He sighed, “There’s only one thing I think of when I think about my Ma’s cooking and that’s her spicy barbeque chicken with honey-roasted vegetables.” He smacked his lips and then came back to the present, pulling the towel around his neck.

“I doubt very much I can do anything that extravagant,” admitted Esper, “But I’d like to chip in, ever’one’s bin so friendly.” Jayne caught a cue and stood up. They had been on the ship over a day and Jayne had been unable to get her out of his head. His eyes roved down to the rest of her and Esper felt her face and whole body grow hot.

“I could be all kinds of friendlier,” he said. This time Esper took a step back and then around him.

“I should start now, if it’s going to be ready in time.” Jayne watched her walk away into the cargo bay and shook his head. One minute, she was there all warm and approachable and then – BAM! – the shutters went up.

“Every time you get to talkin’ suggestively, she starts twistin’ them rings an’ gets jumpy, like a rabbit.” Jayne was annoyed that Bane had been eavesdropping again. He moved past her towards the bathroom. “You said she ain’t married?”

“That’s what she said,” he muttered.

“Maybe her husband died,” she added to his retreating back. Jayne thought that was probably a very genuine possibility. It would explain why she had resisted him when he was normally real successful at being persuasive. A new and pleasing thought came to him, as only Jayne’s logic could. He had bedded widows before and they were usually all kinds of grateful. A wedding was a perfect opportunity – it would save him the expense of a whorehouse anyway. If Bane or Esper could have read his thoughts like River, then they probably both would have shot him right there and then.

~ * ~

Simon looked over at Mal and Zoe talking to Kaylee’s father, hoping that they were was passing on what a good husband he would make Kaylee – not that he was even sure about that himself. What kind of life could he offer her? It took Simon a couple of seconds to realise that it had gone dark and he looked up. Kaylee’s three brothers were towering over him looking extremely menacing. He tried to look past them for the others but could not see.

“Wanna have a talk with ya, doc,” said Lewis Frye, planting his hand firmly on Simon’s shoulder.

“Will there be bloodshed?” Simon asked weakly. Ray Jr snorted – the doc was really funny.

“Nah,” replied Lewis, “We jus’ wanna have a nice friendly chat.” Simon gulped and wondered again if River would be willing to take out all three of them. An answer to his prayers, River tapped Ray Jr on the shoulder.

“No bloodshed,” she said seriously, wagging her finger at them sternly. Kaylee’s three brothers grinned as they could see the smirk on River’s face whereas Simon could not. They turned back to her brother and Simon’s hands clenched on the arms of the chair. Archie perched on the edge of the table just about touching him.

“Baby sis says you’re a fine doctor?”

“Ah, yes – I guess. Well, yes, I’m a doctor,” Simon stammered. Ray Jr took over.

“So you’ve got all the instruments to say, perform an operation?” Oh God, thought Simon, there is going to be blood.

“Bu – Yes. I mean, only a qualified doctor can use them. You wouldn’t be able to borrow them.” Lewis sniggered and slapped him on the shoulder.

“Oh man – you’re such an easy mark,” he spluttered and Ray Jr and Archie joined in with the laughing. Simon looked at all three of them. They’re rutting insane, he thought, and moved his head to see River crying with silent laughter – she is so dead, was his next thought. Archie spoke, having recovered first.

“You know as a soon-to-be member of the Frye family you gotta learn how ta wind someone up.”

“Yeh,” confirmed Lewis, “Or Kaylee’s gonna walk all over ya like she did us.” They had Simon’s full attention, but he still could not get rid of the feeling that his heart was drowning in his shoes.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007 12:15 AM

HERMITSREST


This is a re-post.


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