Lilac Syndrome: Chapter 2
Thursday, April 17, 2008

The New Haven Series; Post BDM; M/I, S/K: The crew goes home after Simon's fight and a few days pass, however something shocking is discovered.


“Kaylee, I dunno what started the fight.” Mal hefted Simon into the covered sleigh, the doctor tumbling in as the others caught up walking from the saloon and Zoe grabbed the horses. They were moving out double time, because Boss Tigg had more than one son, and the Tigg Boys stood up for one another. Walking away, he took Nui from Zoe to take her back to the transport to be hitched, hollering to reach his mechanic's ears as they moved in. “He was fine, happy as a lark with us. Sippin’ his drink, talkin’ about the ranch, the drive, his dreams and hopes and all that sentimental fluff. Then after a bit he went up to the bar to order egg rolls, Bailey sidled up, then I turned away and all of a sudden your beau had Bailey against the bar.”

Before anyone else could get in and see, River jumped in back, and cuffed Simon up against the side of the head as he was sitting up.

“Ow!” Simon rubbed the side of his scalp, giving her a sore glare.

“Stupid, stupid boy.” The reader growled a whisper, eyes slanted, dark and foreboding. “Need to be careful, choose your battles. He wants the excuse to hurt you, get you out of the way. Permanently. Brute against brains. I don’t want to have to bury my di-xiong.”

Simon gawked.

River grabbed him by the shoulders and forced eye contact. “Promise to be careful.”

He dropped his jaw, but only made incoherent sounds, mostly ‘Ums’.


“I… I.. promise.”

River let go, and resumed being gentle. “Good.” With that, as the others reached the covered sleigh, she went over to her own corner, leaving him stupefied.

“Wouldn’t have somethin’ ta do with that mountain sized infatuation Tigg has on you?” Zoe asked more to the doctor than the mechanic. HBacking Tao in and hitching the sturdy stallion up, she patted his neck and tossed the reins back to the drivers bench.

Kaylee took a seat next to Simon as Mal went to go tell Wallace Upton that he was going to have to get that drink and smoke later. Sitting next to the quiet, almost ashamed Simon Tam, she nudged his shoulder. “Honey, what happened?”

Simon wet his lips, his voice a little rough. “I’d rather not say, I mean… I can’t repeat what he said. But he… I… was defending you.”

“It was that bad?” She felt his arm wrap around her waist and hold her tight. Obviously, he wasn’t proud of starting a fight, that just wasn’t who he was, but he still felt the need to defend her. On top of that, he needed to feel her next to him, and with a wave of sympathy, Kaylee hugged him. “Thanks for defending me.”

Simon kissed her wool cap and leaned his back against the sidewall of the covered sleigh, wincing. It wasn’t just his nose that hurt; his back, his neck, his head; they all throbbed.

Inara looked to River after watching Simon and Kaylee nestled in. If someone knew what had been said to instigate a fight, it was the reader.

River was between being aloof and wanting to break her brother’s nose for fighting with Bailey. She chose aloof for the moment, yawning and hugging her chest, which had Boston playing heater under her jacket. “It was uncouth. Bad.” That was all she said on the subject, and she shut her eyes and turned away.

“River, you’re ok with it?” Zoe held an arched brow as she was in her position on the driver’s bench.

“I’ll kill him later.” She sighed. “Let Kaylee snuggle first.”

Zoe chuckled and turned around just in time to see Kaylee’s half hearted eye roll as she gently touched Simon’s nose.


“Sorry, I just, wanna see how bad it is.”

“Doesn’t look broken.” The second in command noted. “Just roughed up. You’ll probably simply bruise nice.”

“That’s hopeful.” Simon cringed in pain as Kaylee took some snow that had dusted the edge of the yankee box, and cleaned the small cut. Hearing his med kit being unzipped, he looked down to find the mechanic looking form some salve. Regardless he was in a good deal of pain, it was sweet how she played doctor to tend to his wound.

“Alright, let’s dust this town before the cavalry arrives.” Mal leapt up to the driving bench, turning around to see his crew huddled inside as the light snowfall stuck to his shoulders. “How’s our doc holdin’ after his very first bar fight?”

“Sore.” Kaylee said.

“Still stupid.” River offered.

“Sounds about right.” Picking up the reins, he flicked them and the horses took off with a gentle tug of the sleigh. Jayne was still in town, but he had brought his own horse, and was probably still having fun, so there was no worry about that. “So, how was shoppin?”


Three days breezed by.

Simon developed a bruise the size of a tomato on the sidewall of his nose and the area of surrounding face. Kaylee, found his battle wound to be a marvelous excuse to kiss him more than often. River actually wouldn’t talk to him, only brooding glares. Zoe for the most part kept to herself, as always. Mal cracked many a sarcastic comment, and Inara was supportive of the doctor, and equally sarcastic to Mal.

And Meilin, acted like any baby.

In the morning hours of the third day, everyone was sleeping. The house was crisp with cold, and as it was winter, there was little rush nor need to work. Thus, the crew was hibernating, everyone under layers of blankets, everyone sleeping deeply as winter always brings deep sleep. River was in her barn loft, Boston balled up against her feet as the horses nickered softly and a milk cow lowed to be milked. York was inside the cabin, sleeping at the hearth with the dogs as it was the warmest place. Simon was holding Kaylee like a security blanket, Zoe was sleeping with a small pleasiasaur loosely gripped in one hand, Inara was in a heavy sleep and unaware that Mal and Meilin were passed out on the couch under one of Hadley Reynold’s old fleece quilts. The baby liked sleeping next to someone when it was so cold, and many mornings Mal or Inara would wake up with her in their arms, holding on tight for heat. That was how she was on Mal’s chest; laying on her stomach, holding his shirt as a puddle of infant drool pooled on the fabric and Mal's hands covered her back before the quilt draped over like a tent for the babe .

Then the wave chimed.

Mal’s chain of soft snores broke, and he lazily forfeited sleep as he fluttered his eyes. “Wha… I’m up, I’m up.”

Meilin groaned, her eyes fluttered open, and she yawned.

“My sentiments exactly.” Getting up, he patted her back as he stiffly moved to the screen. Tucking Meilin into the crook of one arm, he hit the wave button as his daughter looked up at him groggily. Looking down at her, he straightened the sleeve of her onesie out. Suddenly, as father and daughter were both waking up, Colter’s face appeared. “Mr. Irving.. well uh… good morning.”

Colter clearly saw the state of Malcolm Reynolds, as well as the infant that let out a squeaky whine and pressed her face into his shirt to fight waking up. “Mal, is your party awake yet?”

“No, not entirely… really none at all.” Mal smoothed his hair out as Meilin yawned again mightly, tiny fists reaching out before curling herself back into a fetal ball. “We sorta take it easy here in the mornings, what with the snow. You uh, you have something?”

“We need your doc, looks like an illness has passed around from the courtesans a few days back.”

“Well, that’s not entirely unexpected. I’ll shake him and send ‘im out.”

“Much appreciated, I’ll meet him at the store, take him around.”

“Right, other than the sickness, have a good morning.”

“You too.”

Mal turned off the wave screen and gazed down to find Meilin, sucking on his shirt. Furrowing brows, he gently pried her mouth away. “I dunno what you’re thinking, but I don’t have that equipment, Baby Bear.” Clomping up the stairs as Meilin let out a startlingly loud noise as she held on. “Let’s go wake Uncle Simon.” Opening the door, he peered in at the site of the young couple deep in winter slumber, and hollered in. “Simon! Roll outta bed, strap on your stethoscope and get downstairs. Looks like you got sick people from the wh….” He paused and noticed Meilin, then stopped himself from using the original word. “Women…. Of not too high standards… Jayne’s… special friends. So get up.”

“Jeepers Cap’n.” Kaylee grumbled from the comfort of her flannel sheets. “Give us a sec.”

“Jeepers wasn’t my choice of word.” The doctor peeled back the covers and stumbled out of bed grumpily. “Actually there’s quite a string…”

“Holding your niece.” Mal announced.

“Then, jeepers.”

Kaylee rolled out of bed, nearly missing her feet, in her nightwear that consisted of her boy briefs and one of the tops of Simon’s pajamas. Smiling, sleepily, she went over and took Meilin. “Good morning Lil’ Bear.” Kissing the baby’s soft forehead, she cuddled her niece.

Meilin drew in a deep breath, snuggling in. She was good at it.

“I should really just take her wherever I gotta make people upset, hold her up everything’s shiny.” Mal rocked on his heels as Meilin began to speak in her soft gibberish, as if telling Kaylee good morning back.

“That’s cause she’s the sweetest thing ever. “ Kaylee ushered Mal out of the room and shut the door. “I gotta get dressed with ta go with Simon but I’ll hang here ta hold Meilin.”

“I don’t think it’s such a good idea if ya went to town with Simon.” Mal leaned against the wall as Kaylee was obvious confused. “Mei-mei, it’s not too hard to guess that Simon’s little scuffle with Bailey just might be centered around you.”

“Sounds like he’s gonna need help though.”

“Well, if he needs help, someone will be at his disposal.”


Zoe, was at Simon’s disposal.

Which left Kaylee at home, working in River's new loft, installing a solar driven heater for warmth. Mal, had taken a quick ride out around the herd, checked everything, and come back home to help Kaylee. However, River shooed him away as she was already assisting, and he found himself back in the house and giving Meilin a bath.

“You know,” Mal drawled softly as one hand had Meilin’s back propped up, and the other was lathering her back with a washcloth. They didn’t have a little tub for her, so he was using what his mother had used with him, a salad bowl in the sink with a towel on the bottom. “One of these days your baby butt ain’t gonna fit in this thing.”

Meilin gazed at him sleepily, warm water always made her sleepy.

“Come spring we’ll be washin’ ya in the trough if you don’t stop growing.” Rinsing her off he lifted the growing six week old Meilin up and wrapped her in a towel.

She squeaked softly, happily, Meilin loved her father’s voice.

“I’m serious, you don’t stop all that eatin’.” He clasped his hand over her well fed belly, and wriggled his fingers on it. She was still at the eating and sleeping phase of her life as his pinkie tickled her belly button. “Ain’t gonna be any other place ta put ya.” Absently, he kissed the little patch of black, wet curls of hair she was starting to get on her head, and gently used the corner of the towel to dab water away from her face. She fussed to the towel, and he shushed her. “Hey, hey, don’t fuss on me, baby bear I…” He heard the sleigh pull in, and stopped to look out the window. Simon jumped out and was headed to Serenity, to the infirmary no doubt, and Zoe drove their horses to the barn. Glancing back down at his daughter, he said. “Well, I suppose I should go out ‘n see what French Pox is goin’ around huh.” Quickly, efficiently, he set her on the counter and tied on a diaper, then put her in a pink sleeper and set her in her basket next to Inara, who was yet again patching a split in his pants. Kissing his beloved, he slipped on his coat, hat and gloves, and left the house.

There was no snow fall that day, in fact the sun was out, and the sky was as blue as Malcom's eyes. Serenity was gleaming in the sun, melting snow trickling in rivulets down her slick metal panels. The horses were racing in the pasture, the dogs were digging a cottontail out of it’s burrow, and all seemed shiny.

Then he slipped.

His boots went out from under him, and his back crashed into the patch of ice.

Zoe laughed.

Grunting, he sat up and huffed at her as she left the barn. “Laughin’ at me now? Ya know that hurts me... I mean really, everything we've been through and then ya go and do that.”

Zoe shook her head. “It was somethin’ else though, had this big ol’ ‘all is right with the Verse’ smile and then…”

“The Verse bit back.” He supplied, dusting himself off and walking towards his ship, leaving Zoe as she quieted her chuckling.

Soon, his feet clomped on the metal ramp, and he couldn’t help but smile at the scent of an old cargo ship. Once a month they got to fly, he and his boat, but four weeks of waiting was an eternity, and Mal had been grateful for the recent job not only for the money but for the air time. Making his way to the infirmary, he crossed the threshold of the moon shaped doors and was basked in the cool light of the medical room. Simon, had several vials of blood spinning, twisting and shaking in a whirring silver machine's apendages, and his doctorly eyes read a notebook studiously. However he heard boots, and glanced up.

“Oh, hello captain.” Flipping the pages of the notes down he slid the note book onto the counter and straightened his spine. With a loose roll of his heel he shifted his weight and clasped his hands together whilst Reynolds prowled in with his effortless captain gait.

“So, what did the lonely men of Pryor catch from the catwagon?” He fingered the chair before moving to the vials of spinning blood to tilt his head and watch curiously. “Somethin’ penicillin can fix up?”

“I’m afraid not.” Simon shrugged his shoulders, the words a sigh of confoundment. “It’s nothing sexually related, in fact it looks more and more like a pathogenic virus.”

“Like the flu?”

“Worse than the flu, there’s a dozen people in town with extremely high fevers, sores, body aches, wheezing.” He gestured to the machine. “It’s why I’m doing blood tests, because even people that were just around the women or the mule driver are sick and there’s well over a dozen viruses with those symptoms and many require different medication. As soon as I can find out what it is, I can administer the proper treatment.”

“Huh.” That was all Mal said as the blood test machine abruptly stopped, making him jump a touch, and a printer beeped and spit a thin ticker of paper out that had a mile long list of everything Simon had tested for. The doctor picked up the paper and read it carefully, the crease of thought forming on his brow as Mal looked on.

And Simon’s face slackened.

“What?” Mal sidled up and tried to read over his shoulder, however there was too much medical jargon to sift through.

“It’s… it’s.. ai-ya this is Lilac Syndrome.”

*** *** *** *** *** TRANSLATIONS/DEFINITIONS di-xiong: Brother

Shi-yan: Promise

Mei-mei: sister

French Pox: sexually transmitted diseases

Ai-ya: Damn


**As always, the writer appreciates all comments whether they be positive, negative, or suggestions.**


Thursday, April 17, 2008 9:49 PM


Good story. I love the little bit with Mal and Meilin - we love to show him as a good father, don't we? And River being annoyed with Simon over starting a fight.

One little, tiny niggle. Be careful with your commas. There's a couple after names that aren't necessary. But I love the tale!

Thursday, April 17, 2008 10:58 PM


some great descriptive passages here - the winter scenes, the winter scenes... did i mention the winter scenes?:)

Saturday, April 19, 2008 11:35 AM


Good story. The scenes with Mal and the baby are really cute. Nice dialogue. Can't wait to read more.


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