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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Simon returns home. Jayne joins the Independents. River makes a decision. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 551 RATING: 0 SERIES: FIREFLY
Simon took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a moment to try and steady his pounding heart. This wasn’t a meeting he was looking forward to; on the contrary, he would have preferred never to see this place, or its people, ever again. But he needed them. He had no choice.
Madeline slung Billy’s baby bag over her shoulder and clutched Simon’s hand as they walked off the transport together. It didn’t take long for Simon to hear the voice that would forever be engrained in his mind.
“Simon!” Regan Tam hurried toward her son, arms outstretched.
“Mother,” Simon allowed her to pull him into a tight embrace, careful to remain just stiff enough, just distant enough, that she didn’t crush Billy in the process. But as she held him, a completely unwelcome realization startled him. It felt good to lean on someone else for a change instead of having to be the one everyone else depended on. The feeling didn’t last long – he remembered what this woman had done to her children – or rather, had not done for them.
“Oh, it’s so good to have you back.” There were tears in Regan’s eyes. Simon couldn’t ever remember seeing tears there before. “Your father will meet us at home. He had a board meeting he simply couldn’t miss.” She directed him off the platform.
“Of course.” Simon carefully kept his disappointment hidden. Some things never changed. His children were never important enough for Gabriel Tam to leave work early.
Regan smiled down at Madeline and extended her hand. “Hello dear.”
Simon held his breath, hoping, praying, that the ruse would hold long enough for him to execute his plans.
Madeline glanced hesitantly up at Simon before un-enthusiastically reaching up to shake Regan’s hand. “Hello.”
Simon rested a comforting and calming hand on her back, giving her support when he knew Madeline just wanted to run and hide. The little girl didn’t like women at all.
“Oh, there’s no need to be shy, Madeline.”
Simon inwardly cringed at the saccharine sweet sound of his mother’s voice. He knew, from his knowledge and experience of Core world protocol, that neither Madeline nor Billy were children she would want to parade proudly around to their friends – despite their protestations of the opposite. Bastard children would not elevate their social standing or give them respect in the eyes of their peers.
Pleasantries dispensed, Regan returned her attention to her son. “How have you been? You must tell me everything.” She fussed over Simon all the way to the waiting hovercar.
His annoyance grew when she ignored Madeline in favor of Billy, though the girl was as much a part of the family now as the newborn. He finally relinquished his son to her arms to help Madeline into the opulent vehicle. She sat close, hands crossed politely in her lap, legs dangling from the seat because they couldn’t reach the floor. It hadn’t really been so long since she’d been away from the Core worlds. She knew her manners. At least his mother could take pride in that – if nothing else.
When he turned to take his son back, Regan raised an eyebrow.
“Oh, I’m not letting this dear go so quickly.”
“I know how protective you must be feeling, Simon. But really, he’s fine.” She cooed at the baby before fixing him with a grin. “I have done this before, you know.”
As much as Simon didn’t want to admit it, Billy hadn’t made a peep since being settled into her arms. He watched his son like a hawk, and steeled himself for the volley of questions he knew would be waiting at the tip of his mother’s lips as soon as they were on their way back to the Tam Estate.
So taken was she with the babe in her arms, it took longer than Simon anticipated for his mother’s questions to begin. But when she finally raised a serious gaze to his face, he knew he was in for a very long day.
“What happened, Simon?”
Men of all sizes walked around the small, isolated camp. Jayne watched them out of the corner of his eye, noticing the mix of new and old weaponry slung over their shoulders.
“You’re sure?” The man standing before him asked again.
Jayne leveled his eyes at the man. “Yeah.”
“We don’t get many volunteers for this kind of work.”
Jayne settled the pack over his shoulder. “’S why I’m here.”
“We’re glad of it, believe me. This isn’t an easy job.” The man looked over his shoulder at the small ship being readied for its mission.
“I got experience in ‘not easy.’
“So you say.” The man glanced down at the paperwork in his hand; it was fairly straightforward. There wasn’t much Jayne Cobb could hide from him. There wasn’t much a man like Jayne would want to hide at this point in his life.
For a few moments, Jayne felt as if his request might be denied. “Got plenty a muscle to back up my words.”
A grin spread across the man’s face. “I don’t need further convincing.”
“So – am I in?” Jayne’s impatience was palpable.
The man extended a hand, which Jayne took with a feral grin.
“Welcome to the Independent Special Ops team, Mister Cobb.”
A grey haired man clutched the lightstick in his hand and glanced over at the two new arrivals. He limped over to where the man and woman stood, waiting for their transport. Their uniforms were crisp and clean, but, he knew these two were not newbies. Not by a long shot. They were seasoned vets. Malcolm Reynolds had saved his life all those years ago. He’d never forget that face. “Good to have you back, sir.”
Mal nodded and pursed his lips, seemingly lost in thought. “Yeah. Waited too long. Had – responsibilities.”
“Understood.” The man glanced around the bay, at the soldiers hurrying around them, tasks set to complete. “May not be much to fight for about now but –“
“We ain’t lost yet.” Zoe said, her eyes hard as she clutched the straps of the pack sitting on her back.
The man remembered Zoe Alleyne too. Tough woman. Pulled her sarge out of more than one scrape that would have left a lesser man dead.
Announcements echoed over the speaker in the bay, disrupting any further discussion. Zoe and Mal exchanged looks.
“That’s our ship.”
“Good luck to you.” The deck officer shook Mal and Zoe’s hands before moving away to finish his job.
“You ready?” Zoe asked as they walked toward the transport ship that would take them into the thick of what remained of the fighting.
“I’m ready to kick some Alliance pigu,” Mal said, his jaw set.
“Looking forward to it myself, sir.”
Once they got settled into the transport, introduced to the rest of their team, Mal sat looking out the window. He watched as the stars drew closer, and wondered, for the first time in a long while, if everyone else was safe. Simon had returned to Osiris with Madeline and his son. Mal knew the man would take care of his little family at all costs. Jayne – the mercenary hadn’t told him where he was headed. But Mal wondered anyway. River and Inara – they were safe at a training house, somewhere, hidden from the Alliance. Serenity – well, she was lying in a crushed ruin outside a small backwater town.
He didn’t expect to ever see them again, but he carried a small capture of them, snapped when times were good, that he held close to his heart. The memories of those good times, and bad, would live on in the hearts of those most dearest to him – even if he did not.
But he didn’t care about his life right now. All he wanted to do was get into battle. Rage burned in his blood and the sooner he could see an enemy target in his sights, the happier he would be.
“She really is very graceful,” Sheydra said as they watched River go through a particularly difficult exercise. The garden was secluded, and it was just the four of them present – as always. Two watching, one learning, one teaching.
“She was a dancer.”
“That’s very apparent.”
Silence fell as they watched River go through the motions; each movement quick and precise.
“She would make an excellent Companion.” It wasn’t the first time it had been mentioned.
“I don’t think she’s ready for such a step.”
Sheydra’s nod was nearly imperceptible. “She does seem a bit –“
“She’s very brilliant, but certain – people would like nothing more than to use her for their own means.”
Sheydra diligently kept her eyes on River. This was a conversation they’d had before and she was no closer to discovering where Inara had found this girl than when they first arrived. “Fine, keep your secrets.”
“I’m sorry, my friend. But I must.”
“I understand. The ‘verse is not the safest place right now.”
“Not even this world is safe,” Inara finished, leaving Sheydra to wonder just what Inara had seen during her time out in the Black.
Simon walked slowly around the hospital with a look of remembrance on his face. Returning now, he didn’t feel the determination that once drove his every action, his every decision, now it was just a means to an end – revenge.
The chief of staff, an older, grey-haired man by the name of Ashton Whitmore, walked Simon around the hospital, re-acquainting him with the layout. As they rounded the corner, Simon stopped and stared at a dark-haired woman as she bent over a chart, writing what he knew were meticulous and detailed notes. Mai had always been meticulous. She handed the chart back to a nearby intern, straightened and smiled at the chief for a moment. But that smile faded when her eyes fell on Simon.
Ashton, oblivious, moved toward her, a smile on his face.
“Simon Tam, this is Mai Cheung. Brilliant doctor, this one. She’ll be head of pediatrics before too long.” He offered her a warm smile and didn’t notice when it was not returned. Ashton, after all, had only been in the position for a year. He wouldn’t be aware of their history.
A call pulled him away from the two and so Mai and Simon stood there, staring, waiting for the other to speak.
“You should just move in,” Mai rested her chin on his chest, eyes twinkling even through the darkness spilling through the window on the other side of the room.
“Yes, I can just imagine how that would look,” Simon drawled, drawn to the depth reflected in her midnight-hued eyes. ‘Moving in’ hadn’t helped his relationship with Lynn Yang.
“Simon, you and I specialize in different fields –“The exasperated tone in her voice was not lost on him.
“And we’re both up for the –”
“In name only. We know you’ll be chosen.” There was a hint of regret in her voice.
“And how would it look –“He was rapidly running out of excuses and he knew it.
“Since when do you care about appearances?” She challenged with a knowing smirk.
“I –“ He glanced around the room, at the immaculate appearance, before settling his gaze on the woman staring expectantly up at him. “I do – you know that.”
“That’s your parents talking.”
“Oh, yes, and they’ll be thrilled with this, no doubt.” He’d gone back home after his breakup with Lynn. It hadn’t even been six months yet.
“You’re an adult. You don’t need to clear every decision you make with them.” She lifted her chin in that familiar defiant look that he loved so well. “And who cares if you live with me. Everyone in the hospital knows we’re seeing each other.”
“There might be someone on the cleaning crew who doesn’t know yet,” Simon deadpanned. At least Lynn had taken a position at another hospital. She probably didn’t know.
A well-manicured eyebrow rose high over her oval face. “Don’t even pretend that our relationship embarrasses you.”
Simon shrugged, but he knew that she recognized it for the playful movement that it was. “I don’t know, shacking up with an older woman. People might talk.”
“They already do tal–“ Mai’s jaw fell open and she playfully swatted at his side. “Did you just call me old?”
“Older than me.” Simon was used to this game. It was one they played often. Their six year age difference had been the topic of much conversation over the course of the last few months.
“Well, I think every doctor in the hospital is older than you, Mr. finished-a-two- year- internship- in-eight- months.”
Simon nodded, grinning. “Including you.”
“You want to sleep on the balcony tonight, don’t you?”
He glanced toward the sliding glass door. “It’s a nice, warm evening.”
Simon paused for a brief moment before sliding his arms around her shoulders. “I think I’m quite comfortable right here.”
“Naked.” Mai nodded in agreement and pressed her lips to his chest.
His eyes fluttered closed as her mouth moved lower. He wanted to talk about River. There was something wrong since she’d left for the Academy. He just couldn’t put his finger on it. Lynn hadn’t understood. And so they’d ended their relationship. He couldn’t keep it together if he’d even wanted to try. They ended up wanting different things. She wanted a man who doted on her. Not one who had separation anxiety because his baby sister had gone away to school.
Mai understood, or he thought she did –wanted her to. They’d talked a lot about River in the time they’d been together and Simon wasn’t so dumb as to realize that he clung to her desperately because she’d been so willing to listen to his rather unbelievable suspicions.
“Mai,” Simon finally stammered first. He shook his head to clear the memories and extended his hand.
Out of professional courtesy, she took it, but the shake was quick. Simon wasn’t surprised. He’d hurt her when he’d left. And, no doubt, that hadn’t been the first time.
“I never thought I’d see you again.” He could hear the cleverly disguised venom in her tone.
Simon swallowed thickly. “It’s a – long story.” One too painful to get into, even with an ex whom he’d loved, or thought he’d loved, very deeply.
Simon noticed Mai struggle to keep from rolling her eyes. “One I don’t wish to hear.” She said with a smile as the chief returned with an apology for leaving the two of them alone.
Mai shook her head politely. “Not a problem at all. I’m sure Doctor Tam will be quite comfortable here.”
She inclined her head respectfully and barely spared Simon a glance before saying, “I must be going. Have a good day.”
The chief was called away again and Simon simply stared at Mai as she walked away. He shook his head and muttered, “That went – well.”
“Very good.” The instructor returned to an upright position, hands positioned in front of him.
“I know,” River said as she followed suit.
The man’s eyes narrowed to slits. “Arrogance leads to failure.”
“Do not mistake confidence for arrogance, Master,” River said. Her entire demeanor bespoke a power no one, save for Inara, knew she had. The instructor, though well-trained in the art of reading people’s words and body language, could only see the layers she allowed him to see.
He bowed and, with a smile, said, “You are a very strange woman.”
Memories of a different time and place flooded River’s mind… a conversation she’d had with Mal after she’d effectively and easily disposed of Jubal Early. “That’s the popular theory.”
“That will be all for today. You did well.”
River smiled. She knew she’d done well. But she wasn’t done yet. “There’s something I must ask you.”
“I want to join. Will you take me?”
The man raised an eyebrow. “My vote alone does not grant entrance into the Companion guild.”
“I’m not talking about the Guild.” River stared, unblinking, into the man’s eyes and waited.
The instructor glanced over to where Inara and Sheydra stood, watching closely. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
River took a step closer and whispered. “I believe you do.”
Madeline came running when the door opened and an exhausted Simon stepped through. Still unaccustomed to having the butler take his things the moment he walked in, he shook his head and smiled widely at the young girl carrying his son.
The nanny was at her heels, making sure she didn’t drop the child.
Simon waved the nursemaid away. “She’s fine.”
“Yes, sir.” The woman blended into the background as Simon turned his full attention toward his son. He lifted the baby out of Madeline’s arms and together they went upstairs.
It was a daily ritual, one Simon had begun from the moment he’d gone back to work. It was important for him to form a bond with his children, and for them to know that he loved them unconditionally and above all else.
He glanced sadly around the room; at the ornate furniture, the dust free surfaces, the immaculately kept rooms. This was more a museum than a place for children. It was a place for them to be seen, for people to know they existed, but not heard.
Simon grinned at Billy when he squealed loudly, his voice no doubt echoing down the long hallway and into the rooms below. But he didn’t care. He was determined to give Billy everything he’d had growing up and more; much more.
“How was your day?” Simon asked Madeline as he sat down and bounced Billy on his leg.
With a dramatic sigh, Madeline answered, “Boring.”
Madeline had grown up in these circles; she was used to living like this. And Simon knew just why she was so exasperated. He remembered the feeling well. “No one likes school.”
He watched Madeline bend down to get one of Billy’s toys and then turn to dangle it in front of him.
The boy giggled loudly and reached out, but lost his balance. “Whoa, there, little one,” Simon scolded with a warm smile. “You’re not quite coordinated enough yet for that sort of movement.”
“He didn’t have his nap today.”
Simon raised an eyebrow at his bright-eyed son. “Is that so? You were disobeying Mrs. Wu?”
“She wasn’t happy,“ Madeline added with a giggle when the little boy reached for the stuffed toy she held. “But he wouldn’t go to sleep. I even played with him.” She turned her own big eyes on her surrogate father. “He missed you.”
Simon reached out and ruffled her hair. “It’s ok to disobey once in a while.” He winked and then forced a stern look onto his face when Madeline’s smile widened. “Mrs. Wu. Not me. Never me. You must always obey me.”
“Yes, S – dad.”
She turned away quickly after nearly having made the mistake and Simon could see the sadness in her face, in the way her shoulders slumped. It had been hard for her, this adjustment. But to protect her, they needed to continue with the ruse.
An uncomfortable moment of silence followed before Simon spoke.
“It’s ok to miss those you love,” Simon said around the lump forming in his throat. He looked at his little boy and felt his heart break just a little bit more when he thought of how Kaylee would have adored her son.
Madeline turned and launched herself into his arms without so much as a word. He could feel the wetness from her tears but wrapped a tight arm around her anyway and dropped his cheek into her soft hair.
Billy leaned against his father’s chest and yawned and Simon desperately tried to immerse himself in the baby’s scent, in the overwhelming love he felt for this innocent child. It was difficult, because every thought about his son brought back the immense longing and sadness surrounding his mother’s death.
He held the two for a long time, lost in memories of what could have been, but never would be.
“Is everything all right?” Inara asked as she and River sat down for the evening meal.
“I’m living on a world whose system is surrounded by warring factions of the Alliance and Independents. My brother is living in our old home, raising a son and someone elses daughter – alone.” River raised a hand when Inara opened her mouth to speak. “Even if our parents are there – he’s doing it alone.” She pushed the food around her plate. “And he’s risking his life every day to avenge Kaylee’s death – even if no one knows it.”
“Do you think you would have been able to stop him?”
River sighed. They’d had this conversation before. She knew how it would go. “No. He can be very stubborn when he wants to be.”
“I told him I would keep you safe.”
River lifted her eyes to Inara’s. “You can’t. Not anymore.”
Inara carefully laid her fork back onto the table. “What have you done?”
“Something I should have done months ago.”
“I can’t – won’t, sit by and let everyone go to war without me.”
“I did,” Inara said quietly. “It hasn’t been easy, but we can help them more by –“
“By allowing the Guild to pamper us and keep us safe? Let us live out the remainder of our days wondering if we will ever see those we love again?” River knew Inara’s heart and she preyed upon her fears, though it was wrong of her to do so.
River stood. “I have to do this. I’ve already made the arrangements.”
Inara picked up her fork and resumed eating. “I know.”
Reviews before the hack.
Thursday, September 06, 2007 - 05:23
I'm still getting a funny tummy everytime I read this 'cos it's so sad. I mean, you read a lot of sad stuff, but you know it's gonna be okay in the end. But this can't be. Ach.
The scenes with Simon and the kids were very touching. And I'm intrigued to see what River has planned. Update soon. :D
Thursday, September 06, 2007 - 06:02
I really like this story because it travels down different road than most fics. Although, I kind of hope the odd twist you hint at brings the crew back together.
Thursday, September 06, 2007 - 06:14
Very enjoyable chapter! It's great to see the development gradually build and the little surprises along the way.
I'm still wondering what's happened with Madeline's crazy, obsessed mother...
Thursday, September 06, 2007 - 06:20
Woo-hoo! Things really are underway. Even Jayne signing up... wow.
Many kudos again for using the character death not just for angst and pulling heart-strings, but as a way to get the BDH's into the fight. I'm really looking forward to seeing how it all goes!
Thursday, September 06, 2007 - 08:09
Phew!!! That was all matter of surprising, but every second I just wish they would reunite their forces again...even in a war!! Now, River is going in as well and she told Inara...and Inara told her she knew, so I just hope as well she goes with her to meet the others!!!
Thursday, September 06, 2007 - 13:20
But it's so canon. I can see everyone in the paths that they've taken in your fic.
I love that Sheydra sees that River's natural grace would make her a great companion, but Inara protects River from all of that. River would make an exeptional companion, but she's not stable enough for that you know?
Love Daddy*aww*Simon. So sweet, but so heart wrenchingly wrong because Kaylee's gone.
Great chapter :D
Thursday, September 06, 2007 - 13:40
The biggest surprise for me was when Jayne signed up with the Independent Special Forces. Somehow River's decision didn't surprise me though I worry what form Simon's revenge will taken. It comforts me that Mal and Zoe are together and I hope he gets rid of that rage before it destroys him. And poor little Maddy. I can think of no less comforting place than Regan and Gabriel Tam's moneyed estate. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me
Thursday, September 06, 2007 - 15:14
I'm waiting for the battle scenes cause I know Jayne, Mal and Zoe are not going to hold back anything. Simon as a father goes right to my heart cause I'm one too so I know all about that stuff. River seems about to join some secret Companion military wing or something like that. Going to be a lot more hurt and blood before this one is over but I'm wondering about your M. Night Shaymlan comment....hmmmm, who or what isn't what it seems?
Thursday, September 06, 2007 - 16:21
River's training and potential is sooo cool and her slight manipulation of Inara, oh yeah. River the rebellious daughter is how I see her at this point.
And River taking control... I always enjoy that Post Miranda...and Inara feeling a tad bit tired, like maybe she'll sit this one out or maybe not? Or just support them from behind the scenes.
Mal, of course, ready to fight till the death as long as he thinks everyone is safe. Oh, Mal.
And Simon reacquainted with a former lover...interesting.
Very original fic you have here, Leiasky. No predictions from me at this point. Nice work.
Thursday, September 06, 2007 - 18:48
As always, thanks for the comments. Glad you're all still liking the story!
>I'm still wondering what's happened with Madeline's crazy, obsessed mother...
You'll see more of her in a few chapters . . .
>The biggest surprise for me was when Jayne signed up with the Independent Special Forces.
His reasons are explained.
>I'm waiting for the battle scenes
Which were oddly very fun for me to write . . . :)
>No predictions from me at this point.
Thats what I like to hear :) Would hate for someone to guess all my secrets with so many chapters yet to go!
My beta just guessed the big one at the end, and it only took 14 chapters . . . LOL!
Friday, September 07, 2007 - 05:00
Hey - I guessed that secret 10 chapters ago, I was just hiding that I knew... um... OK, I'm totally lying LOL! I never would have figured it out without many hints!
The plot continues to surprise and delight, all the way through (well, as far as I've gotten!) And the plot twists make complete sense, which isn't easy to do. Truly original stuff!!
Friday, September 07, 2007 - 19:57
With all the twists and turns this is easily rhe best thing you've done yet. the special ops bit is truly a surprise, and no, I guess I'm slow, but I've got no idea where this is going. But I can't wait to find out! More please!
Monday, September 10, 2007 - 09:32
Oh, crappity, crap, crap crap! Things are going to be so ugly aren't they? I mean, they might look a little shiny in the end, but I know you and this is going to hurt - like ripping off a bandaid.
I love Simon with Maddy and Billy, although I do wish that we could see more interaction between him and Madeline. Even with Simon "adopting" her, I get the feeling she is still feeling a bit neglected, especially is Regan isn't all that attentive and Simon is working diligently again. I loved the scene with his old lover and the flashback.
I have no idea what's coming, but I know it'll be a fun - and at times, depressing - ride!
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