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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Simon talks with his parents and his 'daughter'. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1010 RATING: 0 SERIES: FIREFLY
Simon stood on the walkway, fidgeting. “I don’t like this,” he said.
The large home loomed over them, dark, despite the Chinese lanterns lining the walkway, and not at all inviting.
“In this line of work you do what you’re told, what you must do for the greater good.” Mai smiled as if she enjoyed his discomfort. It was clear she was used to this. Not for the first time, Simon wondered how long she’d been spying for the Independents.
“That’s not –“ Simon closed his mouth and pulled at his tie.
“My father is the head of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the Core.”
“Pharmaceutical. Is that what they’re calling it now?”
Mai didn’t look at him.
“And besides,” Simon continued. ”He hates me.”
Simon rolled his eyes, unconvinced.
“Look, we’ve gone over this. He’s very influential. If you convince him you’ll be a good son-in-law –“
She sighed loudly, very clearly annoyed now. “I know, Simon. We’ve gone over this too.”
“I can’t –“
“You have a part to play, as do I.” Her eyes hardened. “If you want to be of any help, you will do this.”
“It’s good to have you back, Simon.” Mai’s father leaned back and took a careful sip of brandy. “What’s happened to you over the last few years has been terrible, to be sure.”
“Oh, let’s not bring up those uncomfortable memories.” Mai’s mother rested a gentle hand on her husband’s arm.
“Of course not.” Mr. Cheung nodded politely. “We’ve got far more important things to discuss.”
Simon hid his discomfort behind his own brandy glass. He took a sip and smiled tightly at Mai, who had been glued to his side all evening.
“More important things?” Simon asked, oblivious.
“I’m sure Mai has told you about my position.”
Simon exchanged a small smile with his date before he returned his attention to her father. “Honestly, we haven’t discussed much of you since I’ve been back – you understand.” He offered a small shrug.
Mai’s mother grinned happily and squeezed her husband’s arm. “Of course you should be more interested in reacquainting yourselves with one another.”
Mai leaned over and pressed her chest against Simon’s arm before giving him a little less than chaste kiss on the cheek. “Exactly.”
“Well,” Mr. Cheung tried to look indignant, but failed when his daughter batted her eyes at him. He cleared his throat. “That’s not at all – unexpected.” He stood swiftly. “Perhaps we should return to the drawing room. I’ve got a proposition for you.” He glanced down at his wife. “I’m sure the ladies would love the chance to gossip in private.”
Simon stood, quickly took the hand that rested on his arm, and kissed it gently. He stared into Mai’s eyes for a moment before nodding to her father. “Of course. I’m intrigued.”
After they’d left, Mai’s mother took her hands as they settled onto the setee. “Well, perhaps we’ll see you marry that boy after all.”
Mai cast a longing glance toward the doorway. “We’ll see, mother. We’ll see.”
“It was good to see you again, Simon. You must come by again. Next week, perhaps?” Mai’s mother raised a hopeful eyebrow and offered her daughter a conspiratorial smile.
“Now that he’s working for me, I’m sure an evening or two off can be arranged.” Mr. Cheung draped an arm around his wife’s waist and smiled kindly as Simon held his daughter’s coat.
“Wonderful!” Mrs. Cheung stepped forward and kissed Simon’s cheek before hugging her daughter. “We’ll look forward to it.”
Simon had the decency to smile shyly while he settled Mai’s coat onto her shoulders and then shrugged into his own. “Until next week.” Simon bowed gently to Mrs. Cheung before shaking her husband’s hand.
When the young people had left, Cheung turned to his wife. “That boy is a genius. He’ll do very well in the bio lab.” He glanced toward where Simon had just assisted his daughter into the waiting hovercar. “And, he’ll be far easier to watch in such a controlled facility.”
“Why would a trauma surgeon in one of the best hospitals in Capitol City be interested in – research?”
Mr. Cheung smiled widely. “Because I offered him something that no young man in his position could possibly turn down.”
His wife stared at him and he chuckled as he led her inside. “Vengeance on those disgusting traitorous Independents who killed his sister.”
Simon’s parents were waiting in the drawing room when he returned and as much as he just wanted to go kiss his children and crawl into bed, he knew they weren’t going to dismiss his evening so quickly.
They’d been overjoyed when he’d begun ‘dating’ Mai Cheung. Someone bright, respected, beautiful, who was interested in their son despite his past … indiscretions. It disgusted Simon how they could dismiss Madeline and Billy, because he hadn’t been married to Kaylee or to the fictional woman he’d claimed to have fathered Madeline with.
But they were excited like he’d never seen before when he walked unhurriedly into the room, prepared for the volley of questions he had no doubt they’d been planning all evening.
Simon raised his hand as his mother opened her mouth and turned to his father, who held a brandy glass to his lips.
“I’ll take one, please.”
Gabriel’s eyes rose over the glass and Simon would have chuckled with amusement at his father’s reaction if he didn’t want to just get this conversation over with quickly so he could go to bed.
“So how was your evening?” Regan could hardly contain her excitement and Simon simply rolled his eyes as he took the glass from his father.
“It was fine, mother.”
“Oh, nonsense. Tell us everything.”
Simon raised an eyebrow. He was far too old to be grilled about a date. And his mother’s excitement was far too – genuine. “We had a nice dinner. Really, there’s nothing more to say.”
“You were fairly serious about this young woman before you –“ Gabriel didn’t finish his sentence. He didn’t need to. “She will do you good. Stabilize your life.”
Simon resisted the urge to lash out at his father. His parents were still so clueless. But he’d made the decision not to try and further convince them of their faults. He was going to use them to carry out his own plans.
“And her parents are lovely people. Her father is –“
He knew his mother was already planning the wedding. “I know, mother. We had dinner with them this evening.”
Regan gave a little giggle of excitement. “Oh, yes, of course.”
“I’d appreciate it if you don’t wait up for me next time.” Simon took a long sip of brandy and smiled at his mother. Maybe they’d understand –
Again, his father’s eyebrow rose high into his forehead. “Perhaps if we had done that more often you wouldn’t have –“
“Don’t say another word, father,” Simon glared. This was no time to berate him for his ‘indiscretions’.
“Gabriel –“ Regan began and Simon noticed his father simply raise his glass to hide his view of the reproachful glare from his wife.
Simon felt grateful for his mother’s interference. Of course, he knew that meant she would corner him elsewhere and attempt to learn more about his evening.
“You’re looking tired, Simon,” Regan placed a gentle hand on Simon’s arm, further convincing him that she would be asking about his date later. “We can discuss this tomorrow. Why don’t you go do bed.”
Simon drained the glass and returned it to the bar. Thankfully, his parents didn’t know his work schedule. “Yes, I’m tired. I’ll see you in the morning.”
He quickly exited the room before either of them could say another word. At least he wouldn’t see them tomorrow. His schedule would see to that
Inara sat at her terminal and waited until the screen confirmed that the transmission had been securely scrambled.
“You’re certain these are the plans?”
“You know what this means?”
“Biological warfare on a scale that dwarfs what was done on Miranda? Yes, I’m quite aware.”
“We’ll get this information to our operative on the inside. You’ve just saved millions of lives.”
Inara glanced back at the client she’d drugged unconscious. “I’ve saved no one until your doctors can come up with an anti-toxin to nullify the effects.”
“We now have a chance.”
“Good luck.” Inara cut the connection and slid the data stick out of the port. She returned it to the officer’s uniform, where it had been hidden in a small compartment beneath a pocket, and slid off her robe. With a heavy sigh, she slipped back into bed beside the large man and prayed that selling her body was worth it.
Simon glanced up at Madeline and folded the small album he’d been looking at against his chest.
“What is it?”
“He eat yet?” Madeline ambled closer until she was standing beside her surrogate father. She glanced down at Simon, and the sleeping baby he held in his arms.
Simon glanced toward the empty bottle sitting on the immaculately dusted wooden table at his elbow.
“Oh, yeah, I guess so.”
Her voice was sad, and he could hear it very clearly. He groaned inwardly. As much as he loved children, it was a huge task raising two of them without a mother – and with grandparents more concerned with their standing in the community, than the wellbeing of their grandchildren. “Is something wrong?”
Madeline shrugged. With a hint of reluctance, Simon moved the small album to the table and shifted the sleeping baby. He patted his leg and Madeline climbed into his lap.
He wasn’t the best with words in the easiest of circumstances, and handling both Maddy and Billy was especially challenging. “I’m sorry I haven’t been around much lately.” It was a lame apology and he knew it. But something had to be said. “I know my parents aren’t the easiest –“
“It’s ok. I just – some days I miss ‘em, you know?”
Simon dropped his cheek to her head and closed his eyes. His ‘I know,’ was soft, barely a whisper, but he could feel her exhale at his understanding.
Billy whimpered in his sleep and Maddy reached out a small hand and drew a finger down his smooth, round cheek. “But I love Billy too – and you,” she glanced shyly up at Simon and he felt a smile tug at his lips for the first time all evening.
When she reached over and picked up the small capture album, he felt at once tense and relieved. He wanted to talk about the pictures with someone, but there was no one left. Those who knew the people in the captures were spread far and wide across the ‘Verse and Simon had no idea if he would ever see them again.
“She’s so pretty.” Maddy’s small voice drew him out of his thoughts and he glanced down at the image that he’d been looking at when she’d walked in.
“She is.” Even now, Simon still had difficulty showing his strong and overwhelming feelings for his son’s mother.
“You loved her a lot.”
Simon could feel loneliness and despair creeping into his heart again. “I did.”
“Grandma Tam always says you’re a man of few words, just like your dad.” Maddy looked toward the window, at the tree swaying in the breeze outside of it.
Simon bit back a derisive snort and simply clenched his jaw.
“My –“ she caught herself and Simon swallowed thickly. This was as difficult, maybe moreso, for her, than it was for him. “He was the same too.”
Simon didn’t need to guess who hewas.
“Men are just conditioned this way, I think. We have to be strong all the time, not weak, can’t show emotion, have to protect and defend those we love.” Memories of different events, different circumstances, passed through his thoughts.
Simon balled his fingers into a fist and struck the counter so hard the pain reverberated up his arm. He swore beneath his breath and unfolded his fingers, knowing, but not caring at this very moment, that he could have really done some damage. He was a doctor. He needed his hands.
River’s charts lay sprawled across the area, handwritten notes detailing every bit of research, every test, every treatment he’d administered since his troubled sister had woken up on Serenity.
He scanned everything for the hundredth time, probably more. He didn’t know what to do anymore. Nothing he tried worked – for long. He felt helpless. There was nothing in his training that had prepared him for this; even the psych 101 classes he’d taken. River wasn’t the same, and he was fairly certain he’d never be able to fix her.
It wasn’t often Simon felt so utterly helpless. The tools he’d had access to in the past were no longer available to him. He was a fugitive. He couldn’t go back. He could never take his sister to a facility with the capabilities to treat her. Those were in the Core. And their faces were listed on every wanted bulletin on the Central planets.
But he had to keep trying. He had nothing else to do. His life no longer had purpose, other than to treat the unusually high amount of wounds sustained on the ship. But he’d gotten used to that by now. Most of them, with the exception of the big thug, seemed to accept him and River, their eccentricities, their lack of Rim world experiences.
Simon heaved a huge, defeated sigh and went to his room. River was finally sleeping. But he’d had to drug her to accomplish even that small victory. He was tired, and could barely focus his eyes on anything but the path directly in front of his feet.
But he wasn’t paying attention and ran right into Kaylee; Grease-covered, energetic, always smiling, Kaylee. Sometimes, he couldn’t even look at her, that smile she gave him was so bright. And then there were the times when he would be so depressed, so upset at his lack of ability to help his sister, that he just wanted to lose himself in her sunshine. It was a complete contrast of emotion that Simon wished he had the ability to meld into one.
“Kaylee – I’m –“ He stumbled over the words but she smiled and dismissed his blunder with a wave of her hand.
“Oh, ‘s all right, Simon.” There was that smile again. But today, today he couldn’t take it. He just wanted to go to his room. Wanted to be left alone to punch pillows in his anger, or cry – whichever came first.
After a very brief moment, Kaylee’s smile vanished. “Somethin’ wrong?”
Simon sighed. He really didn’t want to talk about it. Not now. Maybe later. “It’s just –“
Her eyes were so pretty, her face so concerned, that Simon had a difficult time not asking for help, asking her to sit with him, listen to all his problems – maybe put her arms around him and hold him for just a few moments. But he couldn’t. He needed to be strong. And he’d never been able to speak well in front of Kaylee anyway. She made him nervous. Far more nervous than he’d ever been in the past with a woman his age.
Simon shook his head. “I – I just need to be alone for a bit.” He turned away so she couldn’t see his eyes, afraid that she’d see right through his lie.
“Oh, ok.” He could feel her step back from him and he cursed, yet again, his unwillingness to accept help.
“Thanks, Kaylee,” he mumbled as he quickly took the few extra steps to get to his bunk.
Once inside, he closed and locked the door in case Kaylee followed him. But he heard nothing. She hadn’t. In the back of his heart, he hoped she would realize something was wrong and come offer an ear, but in his mind, he was glad she hadn’t. He needed to wallow alone.
He leaned his back against the wall and pushed his fingers through his un-kept and untrimmed hair. With a heavy sigh, he slid down the wall and buried his face in his arms.
Simon blinked back the tears that formed in his eyes at the memory. He was used to doing things alone. And in this, he would have to be alone as well.
“It’s not your fault.”
When Simon shifted his eyes from the nothingness he’d been staring at, Maddy was looking into his face, her small smile full of understanding.
“It is. In some small way.”
Maddy pursed her lips and turned the capture to another scene with Kaylee, Inara and River. It had been taken just before Inara had left Serenity, before Miranda, before he’d given in to his attraction to Kaylee.
“They’re all so pretty.”
“The women of Serenity. Only one missing is Zoe.”
“She scares me.”
Simon chuckled lightly. “Me too.”
Maddy giggled and flipped the capture, this time stopping on an image of Kaylee leaning back against Simon’s chest, his arms around her as they stood alone on some grassy hilltop with the setting sun silhouetting their bodies.
“River took that,” Simon said, remembering that day. He’d told Kaylee he loved her on that hill. He was pretty certain little Billy had been made there. “She was a brat about giving us the capture, too.”
Simon opened his mouth to answer her question, but decided now was not the time to have that discussion with the girl.
“I know what you were doing!” River singsonged around Simon as he tried in vain to look busy. He stacked, moved and then restacked the same box of bandages a handful of times before moving on to something else. He needed to keep Kaylee off his mind, at least until these constant urges to have sex with her anywhere and everywhere dissipated. And this was definitely not a conversation he wanted to have with his sister.
“That’s nice, River.”
“Think Kaylee will teach me?”
The thought froze Simon cold and he carefully set down the box of needles so his vicelike grip didn’t result in a few unnecessary punctures. When he glanced up at River, she had a huge smile on her face.
“That’s not funny, River.”
“Are you this serious during –“ River shook her head and Simon could see the disgust spread across her face.. “Ugh. No. Too much information. Don’t want to know.”
Simon couldn’t suppress a smile. “Stay out of my head.”
“Think less nasty thoughts,” River shot back and stuck her tongue out at him. “Or I’ll ask Kaylee to teach me about sex.”
Simon rolled his eyes. “If you must learn right now, please go see Inara.”
Simon could see the excitement in River’s eyes and for a moment wondered why until it finally clicked. He was so slow sometimes! “Oh! No. No! You don’t need a – a lesson.” Simon stumbled over the words like a fourteen year old virgin. “Books. The Cortex. You can learn anything you need from books.”
There. She wouldn’t need to talk to either woman now. And she wouldn’t be needing a practical lesson for a long, long while. Not if it was up to him.
River cocked her head and smiled so widely it took Simon yet another moment before realizing his mistake. “No!” he shook his head and sighed loudly. “That was not permission to look up vids on the Cortex.”
“Why?” River leaned forward and tilted her head. “Kaylee is –“
“Not the best person to teach you about it.”
River’s eyes narrowed. “Why?”
“Enough with the questions, River. You’re acting like a two year old.” Simon knew she would be able to pick up on his frustration.
“My favorite word wasn’t ‘why’ when I was two.”
“No, I’m sure it was some big, complicated word that I couldn’t spell.”
“You still can’t spell.”
Simon rolled his eyes. “I spell quite fine, thank you.”
River stood straight and squared her shoulders. “I’m better.”
Simon gave her a placating nod. “Of course you are. Now go so I can finish here.”
“You were done before you started.” River twirled around the diagnostic chair. “Can’t get Kaylee off the brainpain.”
Simon sighed. She was right. He couldn’t. What was worse, was that his impressionable young sister knew exactly what he was thinking about. And they weren’t the cleanest thoughts by any stretch.
“Jayne’s are worse,” River said as she moved toward the door.
Simon groaned but was oddly glad she’d left him alone in peace.
“Is that Billy?”
Madeline’s voice drew Simon out of his reverie and he glanced down at the capture she held.
Simon nodded. “That’s one of the last ultrasounds I did.” He glanced toward his son, sound asleep in his arms.
She didn’t linger on the image, instead turned it to another capture of Simon and Kaylee, sitting together on the common room couch.
“I didn’t know she’d taken some of these. She must have hidden them.” Simon’s eyes lingered on Kaylee’s face. “River gave this to me just before we left.”
“To remember everyone.”
Simon nodded and wrapped his free arm tighter around Maddy’s shoulders. “Yes.”
Reviews before the hack.
Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 11:38
So sad, Simon's life now even though he is doing his best. Still can't take to his parents and Mai and her folks give me the creeps. I would love to see the crew get back together on Serenity at some point, however much trouble faces them it is always easier to have folk you can trust to stand with you. And little Maddy, what a sweetheart she is. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me
Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 13:06
Aww, the parts with Maddy and Billy were adorable...Simon's doing just as well as I'd expect him to do. I like how you characterize his parents and Mai and her family as well, and so far I am liking the former better than the latter. The memories of River were spot on in my opinion as well...I love how Simon blunders on giving River commands on where and how to learn about sex.
Monday, September 17, 2007 - 02:22
I loved the flashback with River ... so in character, and I loved the idea that Simon's mind was a couple of beats behind his mouth!
Monday, September 17, 2007 - 03:17
Loved the flashback and Maddy was soo sweet :) But I'm still worried about Inara...Even though she's getting nearer to the real fight; I still have the feeling that once she reaches the others she'll be safe. But that's only my humble opinion so...
Keep flying ;)
Monday, September 17, 2007 - 05:56
I really like that you delved more deeply into what's happening with Simon's situation in this chapter. The brief glance at Inara is a nice juxtaposition. I'm definitely looking forward to more!
Monday, September 17, 2007 - 08:42
Poor Simon - you just love putting him through the ringer. I'm glad he's letting Maddy in, albeit in fits and starts. It's good that he isn't shutting her out.
I feel for Inara as well ... boy is this whole thing a mess, or what?
Monday, September 17, 2007 - 16:40
This is a mess alright...and to me it feels like the gose is gonna hit the fan for everyone..or is that my rampant paranoia as to all things Alliance related? hanging on by the skin of my teeth..and that's not too comfortable!...
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