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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
AU. Simon Tam had a life before the Academy took his sister. He also needed help after he got her back. I changed the story after the episode "Ariel". Please read and review.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1386 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Rating: Various. There will be adult situations, graphic sex-kinda, yay!
Genre: AU. Your usual, I think, for Firefly. Drama, action, romance, mildly angsty.
Pairings: Simon/OFC, Simon/Kaylee-implied
Spoilers: Set before Firefly, also the events directly after the episode “Ariel”. It's a re-imagining.
Disclaimer: I get no money, only the satisfaction of letting this stuff out of my head. ~Zhu fu niu.~ (Blessings on you.) All that you recognize is owned by Joss and The Man. The story idea and original characters are all mine.
Distribution: Let me know so I can do a little dance.
Feedback: Hell to the Yeah!! Feed the need, folks!
Summary: I repeat- AU. Simon Tam had a life before the Academy took his sister. He also needed help after he got her back, not just from Mal and the crew, from an old friend.
Osiris- Part 1
“Doctor Tam?” she queried as she slowly opened the door to the physicians changing room. Unisex or no, she wasn’t going to take the chance of walking in on him undressing.
“Yes, Doctor Lo?” he questioned right back as he stood and began buttoning his shirt.
“I wanted to talk about earlier…” she sounded contrite, but controlled.
“Are you referring to earlier today when you nearly killed a patient?” he said unpleasantly, pulling his sweater over his head.
“It was a mistake. One I do not intend to make in the future.”
He fiddled his bag onto his shoulder and pushed items inside it.
“You assume you have one.”
She narrowed her eyes at him.
“I caught my mistake in time.”
He cocked his head to one side, regarding her intently.
“And if you hadn’t?”
His concentrated gaze heated her skin, not with pleasure, but with mortification.
“The board would have my full report and the offer of my resignation. I, however, do not owe you anything.”
She found the position she’d fixed herself in unnerving, physically and philosophically. She stood there, hands clasped behind her back, spine iron rod straight, mind set on convincing Simon Tam she was not an inept, negligent ~pi-gu~(ass). She wondered why she cared so much what he thought of her. It didn’t seem so much that she worried about her actions, she felt they were defensible. She wanted Tam to know she knew what she was doing, she was a physician, not a half-trained ~houzi~(monkey).
“What about Mrs. Jin? Do you owe her?”
Simon could feel the controlled anxiety emanating from her. That and the knowledge that Lo Xiaofan was not a careless fool assisted him in forming his statement to the review board.
“Her life, Doctor Tam. She is still alive.”
It sounded arrogant, even to her.
“Does that makes it acceptable?”
He knew he was prodding her. He wanted to know what she’d say.
“No, never. Not acceptable. Just understandable. I cannot be the first physician to err.”
She decided right then and there to finish all her statements one sentence early.
“What do you want me to say. Doctor? I nearly killed Mrs. Jin. I have gone over and over and over what I might have done to prevent it from happening. I changed the med orders a dozen times in my mind. I noticed, before any tragedy, that the drugs would interfere with one another and adjusted the dosage. I have gone over and over how to never do it again.”
She was trembling. The conversation was going horribly awry. She was drenched in sweat. Could it get worse?
“Well, we’ll see what the board has to say,” he said, flippantly and brushed passed he, heading for the door.
“~Jiaoshengguanyang~!(Spoiled rich kid!)” she spat after him. '~Zao gao~(Crap)! Why do I speak?'
“Be careful, Doctor Lo,” Simon snipped as he turned to face her, “You don’t even know me.”
'Well, in for a penny, in for a pound, she thought.'
“How much do I need to know? I’ve seen dozens of you ~xiaohuangdi~(rich kids). Handed your plush home-lives, expensive educations, lofty positions in the social strata.”
“If you dislike the ‘social strata’ so much, maybe you should accept a position elsewhere.”
There was vague contempt in his voice, and vicious though it was, she could not keep the words from falling from her mouth.
“~Wo de ma~(Mother of God)! You’ll never experience suffering, even as it breathes under your hands. You are as disconnected an individual as any of the bendan(fools) who populate this place. How you could choose to disregard anyone who does not fit into your narrow world view astounds me.”
Simon looked at her for a moment.
“We all make choices, Doctor Lo,” he said, gathering himself and turning back to the exit.
Serenity- Part 1
The day had not turned out the way Simon planned. Not that it ever did. The job on Ariel had gone terribly awry. Though they had the goods and Simon had the scans of River, he couldn’t help but still feel anxious.
Mal and Zoë were looking for fences to get rid of the goods. While they had all kinds of experience unloading all types of things, meds were not their items of choice. They were making a stop on Beaumonde to see if Fanty and Mingo had any connections with the medical black market.
It was an hour after they made planetfall and Mal had no connection. Apparently the twins didn’t feel like talking to the captain of the Serenity just now. And while this riled and irritated Reynolds something fierce, there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it.
River was with Kaylee and Jayne out getting supplies. He felt little worry in that for the moment. River was responding well to the initial dose of medication. And even though he should be trying to relax, Simon could not sit still. He paced the common area. When he felt stifled in there, he went and roamed the cargo bay. Still feeling restless, Simon headed out the bay doors. Maybe he could do something, anything to help.
The first thing he did was head to the Physician Registry. After perusing the lists for a while he came across a name that looked familiar to him. In a flash he saw her in his head. They’d been doctors at the same facility on Osiris. Before…
It had been a beginning and that’s what it stayed. Not that she was even that anymore. That ended the minute he decided to rescue River. There was no way he could ever go back to that life.
‘I wonder if she’d even see me.’
Osiris Part 2
Simon had stewed a while on Lo’s words. Truth and anger swirled in his head. He had been born privileged. It wasn’t his choice. One could no more choose one’s parentage than one could manipulate the power of the universe.
He smiled a moment.
‘Power of the universe. Might need to get a little more sleep than I’ve been getting.’
After giving his statement to the medical review board, Simon felt better.
Even though her words provoked him, he knew Doctor Lo was not incompetent or negligent. It made him cross, her accusations, but he had goaded her for them. And she had some fear as to her future. So, he decided to forgive her for her foray into anger. Her mistakes, the few she had made, were in over-thinking, not under-thinking.
When he saw her sitting by the lift as he exited the boardroom, he sighed a bit. Simon wanted to let it go, but he also had no interest in another scene.
“~Nihao~(Hello), Doctor Tam,” she said, head bowed ever so slightly.
“Doctor Lo,” he nodded and pressed the button to summon the lift.
“I’m sorry…” she stammered at first. She took a deep breath and steadied herself. “I apologize for my outburst yesterday. It was unprofessional and, most importantly, uncalled for. Sometimes I… ~xinkoucihuang~(speak without thinking). ”
“I appreciate the thought, Doctor.”
“Xiaofan,” she spoke to the floor and then looked up at him. “My mother named me Lo Xiaofan Niu.”
He tried to hide a smile under his hand, but it seemed Xiaofan noticed.
“She wasn’t very imaginative.”
“No, no, it’s a… It’s a… lovely… name.”
She shook her head, clearing whatever she was going to say. Unfortunately the lift doors opened at the same time.
Simon entered, and turned to look at Doctor Lo.
“You should have a good day, Xiaofan,” he said.
“Are you talking about the review?”
He just smiled as the lift doors closed.
Serenity Part 2
Kaylee, Jayne and River were walking through the hustle and bustle of New Dunsmuir.
“One more stop, Jayne, I promise,” Kaylee was saying as she made her way down the street.
She took River’s hand and led her towards a shop. She turned and noticed Jayne stopping to gawp at the less appropriately attired ladies on the street.
“Jaaaayne!!! You’re supposed to be guarding our bodies.”
“Well, Kaylee-girl, ya let me know what kinda tip I can look forward ta an’ I’ll be mor’n happy ta guard that…” Jayne leered until Kaylee shot him a look, he pretty quickly shut up.
“We don’t have all day. Cap’n’ll find a buyer and we’ll hafta skedaddle. Me an’ River need… things.”
Jayne looked up at the sign and saw the nature of the shop Kaylee was headed for.
“Well, why not? I like lookin’ at frilly underthings much as the next man.”
“Jayne, ya’re such a pervert.”
He grinned at her.
“Ya’re the one takin’ me in the frilly underpants shop.”
Once inside, Kaylee sent the big merc off to the other side of the shop. Soon, she and River were fully enthralled in the business of underwear selection.
Jayne started moving through the racks, looking at this and that. Making mental images of certain women he knew and how they would look in certain items. He’d found a particularly saucy bit o‘ lace, when one of the clerks approached him.
“Can I help you with anything,” she asked politely.
“I don’t need none of this, if that’s what your askin’.”
Jayne looked a bit abashed to be caught looking at such personal items.
“Not for a special lady friend?”
Her tone going from polite to mildly suggestive.
“Well, I ain’t got nobody just lately.”
“Well, that’s a shame, big, handsome fella like you…”
Jayne got the hint.
“Well, I was looking at a certain silky number…”
The young woman led him further into the shop and away from prying eyes.
While Jayne was making a new friend, Kaylee was trying to show River as much as she knew about the art of girlyness.
“…well, it all depends. You got some you wear everyday, I stick to plain white cotton fer that. And then ya gotta have some fer special occasions.”
River kind of murmurs off to herself, “Not much likelihood of having any ‘special occasions’.”
“River, it ain’t all about showing ‘em off. Sometimes you just like to have pretty frillies just ta have ‘em,” Kaylee chuckled and continued looking through the sale bin. “Lotsa folks turn their nose up at the bargain bin, but sometimes you find the darnedest things.”
“No, Kaylee. Simon will never let me be in a horizontal position with a boy. Or a vertical, or perpendicular…” River said, morosely.
Kaylee guessed that as she started to feel better, she was beginning to have ‘normal’ teen issues. River was starting to look at boys.
“If you meet the right one, honey, you’ll know. Ain’t nothing in the ’Verse’ll keep you apart.”
“Simon wants me normal, but not too normal. Simon wants me ‘controllable’.”
“You have to give him time, River. He’s just getting used to you feelin’ a little better. He doesn’t realize…”
Kaylee stopped, she decided to change tactics.
“Why don’t we just pick some stuff out, find Jayne, get lotsa sugary sweetness and drive Simon ~houzizaogoa~(monkey crap)?”
One side of River‘s mouth lifted up in a smile.
“I have no other prior arrangement for today.”
“Well, that settles it.”
Osiris Part 3
It occurred to her, after the fact, that she could have gotten on the lift with him. It further occurred to her that Tam had seemed to say that things were going to be okay. She hoped he was saying her job was safe.
She found out a few hours later.
As she stood in front of the review board she mentally thanked Simon Tam. Though she had received a verbal dressing down that had brought her to the brink of tears, only a letter of warning was going in her file. Mrs. Jin’s family had decided not to file complaint, and Xiaofan still had her career.
So, it was a good day. But, a long one.
She looked at her watch. Ten minutes to go. Finish signing these, put those away, and… Done.
She changed into her street clothes, gathered her bag, journals and books, and headed for the exit.
The second the door was open she dropped her things on the floor. A turn of the lock and she was safely inside her flat. A hot shower and a cup of tea later, she found herself on the couch staring at the wall in front of her.
She had just taken the time to reread a letter from her mother, thanking her for the money she sent, and still somehow managing to make her feel worthless about how she made it.
It had not been easy growing up on a border planet. You were just as likely to be shuffled off the mortal coil as not. Not to say life was that terribly cheap on Newhall. It was just precarious. Birth rates fluctuated with the availability of proper medicine and the general health of the population. Living on a recently inhabited world was a balancing act. Stepping outside the status quo was not only discouraged, it was regularly punished.
Xiaofan had fought systematic apathy, not just from the governing body of Newhall, but in her own family. Life followed a certain flow on Newhall. One was born, one hopefully made it through infancy, one worked, one married, continued to work, have children, more working, then one would die. Outside of that, no one had the imagination to look out at the ’Verse. To wonder at what could be.
Her family was drearily commonplace in a community of the incredibly average. Xiaofan could find no contempt for anyone in her memories, just a violent, unassailable urge to have something more. The rest of her family had the traditional Chinese look; black hair, dark eyes. But somewhere in the genetic past an unknown ancestor had gifted Xiaofan with the light hair and eyes of another culture. No one spoke on it, talking about it would have made her significant.
She had three sisters and four brothers. They were all named for their birth order except for Xiaofan. Her mother had not liked the look of the symbol for the number eight, it required two brush strokes to produce, and she already had a child whose name required two brush strokes. So her name was not imaginative in any way, just a cover for her Ma’s superstition. Or so her Ba had explained to her once when she was small. She was given the name xiaofan niu ‘little ordinary girl’.
She had not been a quiet, docile, obedient, little girl. She’d asked too many questions, made too much of a nuisance of herself, demanded information, dedicated herself to learning. She’d taken her fair share of beatings for it at her father’s hand.
She studied in secret, her ~Yeye~(Grandfather) purchasing texts so she could keep up with her peers on the Core planets. Within a fairly decent period of time she was able to apply to the medical preparatory academy. At fourteen, she’d petitioned the governor to emancipate from her parents. After that it was all a done deal. With money her ~Yeye~ had put away since childhood, Xiaofan left Newhall and made her way to the Core.
Life was easier, still hard, on Osiris. With no family name, Xiaofan had only her skill and intelligence to speak for her. If she flagged, if she failed, for even one moment, it could all end.
So, no pressure.
Xiaofan pulled herself out of her reverie and looked at her watch.
‘Food,’ she thought and stood, sloshing the dregs of her tea up the side of the cup.
Serenity Part 3
Her practice was fairly far from the Docks. He wasn’t even sure he knew where he was going. Stopping for directions twice, Simon finally found Doctor Lo’s office.
He found that Xiaofan practiced out of her home. The patient entrance was off to one side. Entering and looking around, Simon noted all of her degrees on display, along with some personal and decorative items.
A young, dark-haired woman walked in through a side door.
“~Nihao~(Hello, can I help you?)?”
“I’m looking for Doctor Lo.”
“May I say who is waiting?”
Simon paused a moment, debating.
“If giving your name is an issue, we will require you to submit to a weapons scan and give a DNA sample,” she said, just as politely as she had the previous statement.
“Tell her…” Simon fought an inner battle.
'I can’t stand here all afternoon.'
“Tell her Simon Tam is waiting.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll let her know you’re here.”
Simon stood on pins and needles waiting for her. He was just this side of leaving when she walked through the door.
“It is… interesting seeing you here.”
Simon decided to brazen it out.
“I might say the same. I would expect you to be moving up the ladder on Osiris.”
She raised an eyebrow.
“You know that the Core worlds and I were never a proper fit.”
She seems friendly. Or she’s just stalling until her assistant can get the feds here.
“I suppose I do.”
Xiaofan decided to address the elephant in the room.
“You are aware there is a bounty for you?”
He smiled sarcastically.
“I had heard something to that affect.”
Xiaofan sighed dramatically. She wasn’t tired of the verbal parry and thrust. She just wanted to know what in the name of ~FoZu~ Simon Tam was thinking.
“That then begs the inquiry, ‘Do you often walk into public establishments giving your proper name‘ ?”
He looked at her a moment.
“I wanted you to know it was me.”
She blinked in surprise. It was crazy of him to come here, give his name and expect not to be turned into the feds. They hadn’t been that close. Had they? Did he really trust her that much?
“Obviously. The question now is, why?”
Simon thought about what his life had become since leaving Osiris, rescuing River, taking up with criminals.
“Well, that is an interesting story.”
She settled back on the settee, tea cup in hand.
“Seems to me things of this magnitude need to be discussed over a fine meal and strong beverage.”
I might not end up in an Alliance prison tonight after all.
Osiris Part 4
It was a day like any other. Xiaofan was looking over some medical journals in the commissary when she felt a presence at her side. Simon Tam was standing there, tray in hand.
“Doctor Lo,” he said, in way of greeting.
“Doctor Tam,” she replied. “Can I help you?”
“Not particularly. Though I was wondering if you would allow me to sit with you.”
She motioned to the seat across from her.
“Be welcome,” she said and smiled to herself.
Simon sat and began arranging the sandwich on his plate, adding condiments.
Xiaofan sat there and watched for a moment before saying, “What made you come over here, Doctor Tam?”
He looked up from his plate and regarded her for a bit.
“Sitting with you seemed somewhat more interesting than sitting alone.”
He realized a second after the words were out of his mouth that they were not exactly complimentary.
“I mean… ~yubende~(stupid)” he took a breath and continued, “I have wanted to get to know you since before the incident with the review board. And then it didn’t seem the time as I was to give report to the review board. After that I thought it might be too uncomfortable. I thought now would be a good time to get to know each other.
She looked at him across the table with a air of amusement and decided to throw him a bone.
“I would imagine that I am more interesting than sitting by yourself. But you needn’t have waited this long to speak to me.” She stopped, saw him waiting for her to say something else. “I think the first thing we need to do is get to first name basis. You may call me Xiaofan, if I may call you Simon.”
“Of course,” he said, smiling at her.
Serenity Part 4
“Jayne, you’re disgusting.”
“It’s not everyday a bit o’ tasty comes a long and just hands it to you.”
“So, the whole time River and I were picking out underthings, you were…”
He leaned closer to Kaylee and leered.
“Pickin’ out underthings.”
Kaylee wrinkled her nose.
“I repeat, disgusting.”
“Say what you want, woman. But it gets tiresome out in the black. I get what I can while I can. Might be dead tomorrow.”
They entered the cargo bay of the ship, Jayne overrun with bags and boxes, Kaylee and River carrying small containers.
“I suppose, Jayne. But in the storeroom?”
“It was handy.”
They’d retired to Xiaofan’s sparsely decorated sitting room. There were no holos on the walls, and all her degrees and honors were displayed in the waiting area. There were, however, matching sets of scrolls on opposing walls, beautiful calligraphy depicting “After Rain” by Yue Fu.
They sat in silence for a few moments after her assistant served the tea.
Xiaofan finally broke the silence.
“What are you doing here?”
Simon wavered at pretending ignorance or being deliberately obtuse. Not that there was much difference. Eventually he just decided to do what Captain Reynolds would do. Deflect.
“Here as in Beaumonde or here as in your office? This is a wonderful sauce, I don‘t think I‘ve ever had anything like it.”
“It’s the specific combination of herbs and Simon, don’t play at words. You’re wanted by the Alliance for… Well, I don’t believe the charges.” She paused, considering. “No, I don‘t.”
“I can’t really explain.”
“I imagine that's true.”
“I need a favor.”
“What could I possibly do?”
“I’m not even sure you can do anything.”
“Then why are you here?”
“I don’t know. I should have sent the captain. Anyone else.”
“Simon, ~dele~(enough)! No more ~fei hua~(nonsense). Speak clearly. Why are you here right now?”
He looked at her seriously.
“I need to know if you have any connections with black market medicine.”
“You think I ~jianliwangyi~(forget morals for profit)?”
“I would never question your morals. Though I question mine more and more.”
“What do you… No, I don’t want to know… Simon, what in ~Tian a~(Heaven’s name) happened.”
“It would take me more time than I have to explain.”
“You come here to me as a criminal and ask me if I know anything of other criminals. Why would you assume that I have any interest in black-market anything?”
“I have no idea if you have interest or information. I am attempting to fund my life. Any help you could give would be appreciated.”
“Simon, I harbor no ill will towards you. But I know the same now as I did back on Osiris. I know you were a dedicated colleague, I thought you a friend, but I hardly think I can endanger my place to involve myself with criminals.”
He looked crestfallen.
“…anymore than I already do.”
There was no way in her mind that Simon Tam could be a dangerous criminal. And just an hour before hand she never would have even used the word criminal in the same sentence with Simon Tam. Then, she never planned to make her living this way either.
He looked at her strangely.
“Tell me what you have.”
He shook his head in an attempt to sort the jumble of his thoughts.
“I have to admit to some confusion.”
“Yes, well, you haven’t exactly corned the market on confusion.”
“~Shenme~(Excuse me)? I know I asked you if you had criminal connections. But now that you admit you do…”
“You wanted me know a person who knows a person who knows a person.”
“You are an interesting man, Simon Tam.”
He smiled, unamused.
“Not that interesting.”
“Simon, you were the finest trauma surgeon on Osiris, you could have done or been anything. Then suddenly, with no warning, you just dissolve from in front of me. You cut off contact, just disappeared. Then, months later, you show up at my practice asking me about the medical black market. So, I think it’s fair to say I am more than a bit confused.”
He looked her directly in the eye.
“If I had the time, Xiaofan, I would tell you everything. I think I would. I should have… I didn’t want to involve anyone I cared about.”
“I have various items I’m trying to move. Hydrozapam, pasceline-d, propoxin, ivoprovalin, fentaderm, morphivan, various anti-viral and anti-biotics, probuspirone and propoxyphen. Those are just the high ticket drugs. There are quite a few more routine drugs in stock.”
She laughed, “What did you do? Raid an Alliance hospital?”
He looked at her blankly.
Her eyes widened.
“You raided an Alliance hospital.”
He purposefully ignored her statement.
“Do you know anyone who can move them?”
Xiaofan stopped and really looked at Simon. He didn’t look as much like the man she knew on Osiris. She hadn’t seen this kind of desperation or panic even pass over Simon Tam’s face in any of the time she’d known him. But she was not unfamiliar with it, she’d seen it in the mirror on more than one occasion.
“I’ll need a full list with quantities and a way to contact you.”
(Rated NC-17, here)
Osiris Part 5
It started with the lunches.
Then Simon began more frequently discharging his patients to her. He stated, when asked by a fellow staff member, that he did so to show confidence in his fellow doctor. Unofficially, it was so he could spend more time with her. It gave him excuses to contact her, purportedly to go over the conditions and recovery of his patients. ~Renyanzeze~(There was talk.).
They talked about themselves. He would down play the wealth of his life growing up , and she was equally circumspect with the less savory details of her upbringing on Newhall. But they were completely truthful when it came to experience. They talked about firsts and lasts, bests and worsts, almosts and never-was. They were as truthful about themselves as they knew how to be.
Simon talked about his sister, River. She was a beautiful dancer, smart as a whip. Even smarter than himself. At first, Xiaofan thought he was being self effacing, but the more he spoke of her… He made her sound like a super-genius. She’d decided to take part in a program in a place called The Academy, broaden her horizons. He spoke lovingly of her, laughing, telling stories about his ‘bratty little sister‘. She could hear how much Simon adored his sister. She wished she could feel the same about her own.
Xiaofan didn’t see the point in talking about her brothers and sisters, so she didn’t. Relationships with parents… for Xiaofan touchy, hard to deal with, skirted around. Simon had real affection for his parents, which Xiaofan could never profess to, but he kept them (or they kept him) at arms length.
Simon and Xiaofan had silly, pointless conversations. They spent some time together on their days off. Xiaofan might have even thought that he was interested in her if he weren’t so damn formal at informal times. She knew the social programming of Core planets. She thought that she and Simon had gotten beyond most of that.
But, occasionally, their hands would touch when walking side by side. Their would be a momentary touch of the hip when sitting next to one another. Then Simon would move to a more ‘courteous’ position a little farther away. There were moments, at her door, that she wished he would move closer to her and brush his lips against hers. They were fleeting, delicious moments.
Sometimes, she would sleep and in the morning she would feel tight in her stomach, her pulse racing. She would have a hand on her breast and one between her legs, Simon’s face in her mind. It was all she could do to get through those days. When the very sight of him aroused her to nearly the point of pain.
His face, soft angles, cheekbones she longed to kiss. His eyes, intense or smiling, drawing her in. She could imagine herself pressed against his chest, wrapped in embrace, lips locked passionately. She could almost feel his hands running down her back, from her shoulder blades to just below the joint of her thighs.
She wanted to put her hands on him. Feel his skin under her caress. Find his sensitive places, touch and kiss them. She wanted to stroke him until he was begging to have her, to be inside her.
She didn’t actually avoid him at those times, but it was easier for her the less of him she saw. It was just that Simon couldn’t possibly feel that way about her.
All attempts to put the attraction aside, for Xiaofan, and Simon, though she didn’t know, it was nice not feeling alone. It was pleasing to see something interesting on the cortex and have someone with whom to share it. She liked coming on shift and seeing Simon’s face, maybe smiling at her, maybe fixed in concentration during pre-operative examination.
She felt close to Simon. More than anyone else in her life. Except her ~Yeye~. He was the reason she knew any quality in men at all. There were indeed decent men on Newhall, but you were hard pressed to find one. Certainly not in the ghetto Xiaofan had grown up in. There were bad men and less offensive men. Her ~Yeye~ was the exception. And Simon.
She was thinking too much about Simon Tam. Even as they spent time together, she knew that the future wasn’t for them. Not together in love. He was gaoceng. She was not. Many of the doctors in the facility would not associate with her due to the class of her birth. The ones that would still treated her as a tolerated inferior. Nurses did not usually keep company with doctors unless they were sleeping together. Xiaofan did not have time for any social-climbing male nurses, few though there were.
Simon was different from all of them. It was considerate of him not to get her hopes up. She put her romantic feelings to the side as best she could. It was just nice to have a friend.
(Rated NC-17 as well)
Osiris Part 5 Continued
Xiaofan could not possibly know Simon's thoughts, other than what he’d told her. He was very circumspect with his emotions.
She had seen some, a bit, of Simon’s inner workings. He’d been trained to be a classic gentleman, he would never burden a woman with his desires. He was educated in chivalry, courtesy and exquisite manners.
What he thought in the privacy of his own mind was a completely different thing.
To say that Xiaofan figured in most of Simon’s erotic fantasies would be putting it mildly. The fact that he found her attractive and intelligent had initially drawn him to her, but her sensitivity and warmth kept him close. Of course, it didn’t hurt that she was lovely.
Her eyes and hair were what stood out instantly. From the back she looked Anglo. Her hair was dark blonde, long to her shoulder blades. Once she turned around there was no doubt of her cultural heritage. But her eyes... Like blue-green crystals. It was not Simon’s usual wont to indulge in florid prose regarding feminine beauty, but she inspired it in him. She had beautiful, almond eyes, a dusky pink, heart-shaped mouth. Her skin was even and smooth, sun-kissed tan. Her hands were strong, with thin long fingers.
He enjoyed the shape of her. Soft curves under the angles of her uniform. In his dreams he cupped her breasts in his hands, running his hands down her ribcage. Resting them on her hips, fingers pressing into her flesh.
He imagined his hands cupping her face. Fingers tracing her jaw-line, down her neck, fingertips touching the peak of her breast.
Nights were long when he was thinking about Xiaofan.
In his mind, she lay next to him, gently encouraging his exploration of her body. He would kiss her slowly, discovering the curves and valleys. Hands and lips traveling, whispering words against her skin.
In fantasy, Simon would taste her. The tender area behind her ear, the underside of her breasts, the softness of her belly. Simon would stop to inhale the scent of her, breathe in at her center He would run his hands from the joint of her thighs to the tip of her toes. His lips on hers, his body pressing against her, the feel of her as she accepted him inside her.
But that was not reality.
Simon would never… push... himself on her. Xiaofan was friend, companion, colleague. And as far as he understood, she had not given him reason to believe she thought of him as more than that as well.
Serenity Part 5
When Simon returned to Serenity, he got a less than cheery welcome.
“Not like you to be gone too long without your sister.”
Simon turned at the voice. Mal stood there, a disgruntled look on his face.
“I’m sorry if she was trouble.”
“No more than the usual. Just wondered at you being gone.”
“Well, if we’re very lucky, I have news. I might have contacts to unload the drugs. Unless you already have contacts. Then mine are pointless.”
“You… Doc… physically involving yourself in crime?”
Simon chose to ignore the jibe.
“Did you make any contacts?”
“I’m not following’ your logic, Doc. ‘Cause I can‘t see the good in that.”
“There… Well, there’s a doctor practicing here in New Dunsmuir…”
“Doctor, going to see anyone who knows you from before is all manner of stupid.”
“I’m aware. We used to be… friends.”
“Not that it’s any of your business, but no. Just a friend.”
“Why would she want to help you?”
“No reason not to.”
“I can think of enough.”
“She’s not like that.”
“But she’s criminal enough to move stolen drugs?”
“I’m not going to continue to have this conversation with you.”
“~Guaiguaidedong~(What the hell), Doc! You might be bringing ~diyu~(Shit) down on me an’ mine. You’re goin’ to have this conversation.”
“She won’t call the Alliance.”
“How could you possibly know that?”
Simon stalked off before Mal could further berate him. He might’ve even deserved it, but he sure as hell didn’t need it right now. His head was throbbing enough as it was.
Her mind went a mile a minute for quite a while before she mastered her thoughts. Questions that she wished she’d asked. Questions she would not have asked of any other fugitive coming to her for assistance.
‘What happened? Why did you disappear? Where have you been? Why do the Feds want you so bad? Why didn’t you ever wave me? Didn’t you ever miss me? Can we get naked right now?’
In all fairness, the last three questions would have been just for Simon.
The attraction that had lain dormant for all that time seized her by the throat the moment she saw him. Initially her thoughts had been to grab him in her arms, then slap him for leaving her hanging. She felt she’d controlled that impulse quite well.
She sat, staring at the piece of paper in her hand.
She moved from the sofa to the chair at her desk. She pressed a button on her comm system and a moment later her assistant appeared.
“Catrin, please pull the special contact file for pharmaceuticals.”
Catrin disappeared quickly out the door, leaving Xiaofan to stew on her own for a bit. And stew she did until she pulled herself together.
She began tapping her currency calculator in earnest. She would make sure Simon got a good price for his wares.
Xiaofan stood in the cargo bay of the Serenity having a look around. Simon had brought her here, ultimately, to assuage the doubts of his captain.
That’s what he said.
She felt that if Simon didn’t have to bring to this ship, he wouldn’t have. He looked like he wished she was a million miles from here.
She wasn’t really looking at anything in particular when a woman entered the bay.
She was brown-haired, in overalls, with a sour look on her face. Xiaofan smiled at her.
'Might as well try to make a good impression.'
The pretty young woman smiled back, half-heartedly.
She heard voices and saw three more people enter the cargo bay. Two men and a woman. She took them in, the smaller man eyed her suspiciously while the other one hardly bothered to acknowledge her existence. The woman gave her a nod and turned her attention to the first man.
Simon stepped up by her and started the introductions.
“Captain Reynolds, this is Doctor Lo Xiaofan Niu, my friend from Osiris.”
He nodded. “Nihao, Doctor Lo.”
“This is his second, Zoë.” Motioning towards the woman between the two men. "That is Jayne,” he said pointing to the large menacing looking man.
He looked behind them and waved to the girl with the brown hair.
“Back there is Kaylee Frye, the ship’s genius mechanic.” The young woman finally smiled and waved back.
Xiaofan took them all in and let out a big breath.
“Nice to meet you, Captain Reynolds.”
“Same here, Doctor Lo. Simon says you know somebody…”
“And that you set up a appointment to take care of the merchandise.”
Mal looked around the group, let out a big, showy sigh and clapped his hands together.
Mal took Zoë away from group to discuss his growing uncertainties.
“A bit, Sir. But not totally out of the question. A doctor in the area would have contacts to move contraband, if they saw fit.”
“There’s always Badger, Sir.”
He looked at her skeptically.
“I’m just saying, Sir.”
“I’m not disagreein’ with ya. I just don’t feel like bein’ taken for a ride.”
“Especially if it ends in prison.”
They turn around and head back to the group.
“~Xie-xie~ ever so kindly for assistin’ us in this matter Doctor Lo…
“I’m hearing a but or a however or something that will make me equally as unhappy.”
“Well, nothing too terrible awful. Just gonna need you to hang around here a bit we go take care a this transaction.”
“I have things I need to see to, Captain. I can’t just stay here indefinitely while you…”
“That’s just too bad, Doctor Lo. We need some good faith that you haven’t called the Feds and set us a trap. The Doc may trust you, ~Tian~(Heaven) knows why, but we don‘t know you. Call it insurance.”
Xiaofan was disgusted.
“If I wanted to call the Alliance I had many opportunities before this moment.”
“It’s true Captain, if she was going to…”
“Don’t wanna hear your side, Tam. I’m still mighty irritated that you went and…”
“Found contacts when you couldn’t? A contact who could unload everything for a good price?”
He shook his head, grinning mirthlessly.
“Would you be irritated if I made you dinner, too?”
Xiaofan laughed and turned to Simon.
“Simon, why would you make him dinner? I did all the hard work.”
Back on the catwalk, Kaylee noted the familiarity, and tried not to feel hurt by it.
“You are ~qianjiaobaimei~(bewitchingly charming) for certain my lady, but you’re also an unknown factor here in these proceedins.”
Xiaofan made a face at the captain.
“That’s too bad. Maybe I should just go.”
Mal smiled hospitably.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself. You just enjoy the hospitality of my ship while the good doctor and I finish this little transaction.”
“Captain?” Simon and Zoë said at the same time.
Mal pulled Zoë aside whispering, “I need you here.”
She looked at him incredulously.
“I’ll have Simon to verify the goods and keep Jayne out of sight with a few guns trained on the situation.”
“Look who you’d have me leaving Doctor Lo here with.”
“You have a point.”
“If she decided to be trouble, who would handle it? Wash? Kaylee? The Shepherd?”
“I said I got the point. Sir.”
“Not that I think she’ll be too terrible trouble. I’m just still in a tizzy about the doc bein’ helpful an’ all. Wanna bust his chops.”
“You are not a nice man.”
They rejoined the group.
“Simon, Jayne, we best be off. Y’all don’t have too much fun while we’re gone.”
Xiaofan looked at the assembled group.
“Nice to hear it. Zoë, you’re in charge, if we’re not back in an hour… You know the drill.”
Osiris Part 6
Time passed and things changed and stayed the same.
Except Simon Tam. Well, he was still technically a staff member. Not that anyone saw him. He’d cut his hours down to almost nothing. There was even a rumor floating around that he’d been held at a detention facility.
Xiaofan and Simon had been eating lunch together every shift that they both worked. Then suddenly, nothing. He was barely working, and he wasn’t talking to her. The few times she’d tried to speak to him, she’d been rebuffed with words of being busy and time constraints.
After a particularly wretched day, Xiaofan found herself invited out by a group of physicians. While she didn’t particularly enjoy social situations, she felt the need for some company and a cup or two of ~choujiu~(rice liquor), so, she went.
She stopped and sent Simon a message. All she got was his recorded statement to leave a comm signal and a name and he’d get back to you. She let him know where they’d be and that she’d be happy to see him if he wasn’t to busy.
They’d gone to a hall of ~choumingzhaozhu~(ill repute). Well, as bad in reputation as you can get on a Core planet when you’re a bored hospital staff member. This particular establishment was not so much with the ladies of the evening, but did provide diversions of other kinds that would be frowned on by the society they served.
Her companions were deep in their cups and Xiaofan was enjoying the slow feeling of inebriation. As she stretched and worked out the kinks in her neck, she noticed Simon walking out of the bar with a rough looking ~daitu~(criminal).
Curiosity got the better of her and she followed them out, at a safe distance. She observed them go into an alley adjacent to the bar. Xiaofan peeked around the corner and saw Simon speaking heatedly to the other man. A moment later, Simon was being held up by the throat, a knife pressed into his gut.
Xiaofan stood frozen by the entry to the alley. Before she could react, Simon had handed the thug his wallet and watch. Seeming satisfied, the man took the items, tucked them away and cuffed Simon hard across the jaw. When he headed towards Xiaofan, or at least the place she was standing, she decided to get the hell out of the way.
The criminal exited and a few minutes later, so did Simon. She wanted to check on him, see if he was okay. But the look on his face startled her. He looked enraged enough to kill. She heard him whispering curses under his breath as he went by. She blended into crowd to avoid being noticed.
She thought for a moment she would join the others in the bar, but she found she had no more urge for drink. She wanted to know what was going on with Simon.
While Xiaofan still didn’t know why Simon was acting so strangely, it appeared to only be getting worse. Finally, the board of governors removed Simon from the staff. Apparently, he’d been engaged in some illegal dealings. She’d heard his family had disowned him, he wasn’t even living on Osiris anymore.
His comm was still on and ever so occasionally Xiaofan left a message. Twice a month or so. Since he’d been fired, Simon had been in contact with no one from the medical facility. This disheartened and irritated her more than she wanted to say. What in the ‘Verse had become of Simon Tam?
Staying on Serenity
Kaylee stood in the cargo bay with her unofficial charge. She had instructions from Zoë to holler if Xiaofan got hinky.
They stood there in silence for a minute until Kaylee decided to bite the bullet.
“So, how long did you know Simon?”
“Just over a year.”
“Not too long.”
“No, not too long.”
“You worked in the same hospital on Osiris?”
“It was… okay.”
“What do you mean?”
“I enjoyed my work. But Osiris was not…”
She hesitated at sharing with this woman. Then decided, what the hell.
“I wasn’t born on Osiris. I was born on Newhall.”
“Oh,” Kaylee said it as if it explained things. She still managed to look quizzical.
Xiaofan took pity on her.
“I didn’t fit on Osiris. They’re very… rigid… there. The social system. To get the proper respect, you needed to be born in the Core. They couldn’t deny me the education, I could pay for it. They did, however, deny me any hope of fitting in.”
“I didn’t know.”
“Why would you?”
“You want something ta drink?”
“I wouldn‘t say no to a cool refreshing adult beverage. I don‘t suppose you have a beer of any kind around here?”
“Jayne mighta hid some in a nook.”
“Jayne, the great, big, scary-looking man?”
“I guess. But I wouldn’t call ‘im scary or nothin’.”
“I suppose you just have to get to know him.”
“Yeah, you get to know him and he’s still a yubende houzipigu (stupid monkey butt) mosta the time.”
Xiaofan smiled broadly. “I’ll take your word for it. Any way, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.”
Kaylee changed subjects pretty abruptly.
“I didn’t mean to come off all territorial. Me an’ Simon ain’t nothing’ to each other.”
“I don’t know, you seem like fair friends, Miss Frye.”
It was Kaylee’s turn to be beneficent.
“You should call me Kaylee.”
“And you should call me Doctor Lo.”
They stood there a second before Xiaofan broke into a smile. Kaylee grinned widely as well.
“Please, Kaylee, call me Xiaofan.”
They walked out of the cargo bay.
“All of that?”
“Hard to get a nickname out of that.”
“Well, if we tried…”
It was a good transaction. Nobody got shot, stabbed, perforated, mutilated or even cursed at. Simon and Mal presented the drugs, they took the money and they were off.
Simon made sure to point it out.
“I better get my kit out… Wait, I don’t have to. No one got shot!”
“You’re very funny, Doc.”
Simon just grinned.
The three men took their ill gotten gains and headed back to the ship.
“So, I take it things went well,” Zoë said, locking up behind them.
“Good as can be,” Mal said, grimly.
Simon chose that time to speak up.
“Now you know that’s not fair, Captain.”
He turned to Zoë.
“Things went exceptionally well.”
“Keep braggin’, Doc, see what happens.”
“You’re right, I don’t want to upset our fearless leader.”
Zoë grinned indulgently at the two of them.
“Doc, you’re friend has been in the galley with Kaylee. Think they’re still in there.”
Simon thought to himself as he made his way up and across the catwalk.
'Can any good come of that? Well, for one thing to go smoothly, I guess another might have to bump a bit.'
The women have been chatting for a while. Evinced by the group of beer bottles at their feet as they sat on the floor in front of the chairs in the common room.
“…told me some stories ‘bout Osiris an’ the medical complex, but he never said anythin’ about you.”
Xiaofan shook her head and sighed.
“That doesn’t surprise me. Simon is a very private man.”
She took a swig of her beer.
“He could want to rip your clothes off and fornicate six ways to Sunday and you’d never know.”
There was a beat and Xiaofan looked shocked at her own words. Kaylee looked at her for a second and then burst out in giggles.
“I do believe that’s true. Simon seems ta keepa tight rein on his feelins.”
“I thought for a minute…” Xiaofan started, then realized who she was talking to. She didn’t want to make trouble for Simon. Not if he had interest in this woman.
“That ya mighta had somethin’?”
She paused almost a minute before answering.
“That was a long time ago.”
“Well, here I am all… countrified and not proper…”
“You’re not… Well, I’m not the one…”
She felt flustered. Not just by drink. But by the inadequacy of words.
“I’m not proper either, Kaylee. I was low-born, parents indentured. I had to fight for everything then, hell I still have to fight sometimes. It’s what you have to do to survive. Core-bred women… They’re different from you and I. Mostly. I’m not saying there’s nothing to them. There are a few. But… There’s a difference.”
“Empty belly…” Kaylee mused.
Xiaofan looked at her quizzically.
“Well, if’n ya never had ta worry about an empty belly and how ya’re gonna fill it… If ya’ve never lost someone ya loved just because some medicine weren’t on yer world, or in yer town or village… If ya’ve never had ta fight for a thing in ya’re life…”
“That’s exactly it!”
Xiaofan sat up, excited to be understood. Her beer sloshed in the bottle, threatening to spill.
“If you take things like education for granted, because 'everyone' gets a proper education. If you’re never going to have to worry about the things you’ve said, Kaylee, because you’re going to marry rich and he’ll take care of everything anyway… You’re right! Exactly so!”
“But you, you’re not like that.”
“Newhall, right? I could go into, but it’s a common story. I did a hell of a lot to get where I am.”
“But now… you… sell drugs?”
Xiaofan smiled again at the young mechanic.
Just then a voice cut into their conversation.
“A story I’d like to hear sometime, as well.”
Both women turned their heads in the direction of the sound.
“Simon…” Kaylee said, unenthusiastically.
“Ladies. I see you’ve been…”
“Enjoying an adult beverage,” Xiaofan cut in.
“I’d would still like to know how you became the contact to move pharmaceuticals here on Beaumonde.”
Xiaofan pulled herself up on a chair until she was sitting in it.
“That,” she took another swig from her beer, “is a story for another day.”
“Or another month,” Mal said walking into the common area. “We’ll be on our way soon. Just need to stock up a bit, then off on another whirlwind adventure.”
“My beer!” Jayne yelled, noticing the bottles laying around and in the women’s hands. “Mal!”
Kaylee giggled and tried to hide her bottle behind her back.
“I’ll pay for them, Mister…” Xiaofan started.
“You’re damn right you will. Them were expensive ones too!”
“They was cheap, piss-water beers and you know it.”
“They was MY cheap, piss-water beers.”
“You’re right, of course.”
Xiaofan reached for her jacket, laid on a chair. She dug inside until she pulled out a reasonable amount of money and handed it to Jayne.
“There, more than enough to replace your beers. And you’re in a good place. Triton Brothers Brewery makes a very tasty, potent ale. You might look into it.”
Jayne looked mollified.
“Yeah, well. I might.”
With those words he stalked off.
“Unless there is going to be more beer-related melo-drama, I’m going to… Well, I’ll be elsewhere,” Mal said, striding out of the room.
Kaylee stood up and started gathering up bottles. Xiaofan began to help her.
“No, no. You got catchin’ up, I’m sure.”
“If you’re sure.”
“Sure, I’m sure. Have Simon show ya ‘round a bit. Serenity’s a great ship.”
“Well, Simon. Let’s do as the lady suggests.”
They came to a finish in the cargo bay. Serenity, while a great ship, was not huge. The tour did not take long.
“I had a hard time believing my eyes when I saw your name on the registry.”
“What can I say? Osiris didn’t work out.” Not much point in being there with out you. “The truth is, if you and I hadn’t become friends, I might have left before.”
“I hope I wasn’t…” Simon began.
“If this is the part where you say something stupid and ill-advised, please. Don’t.”
He stood there silently.
“Well, I believe we’ve seen everything. Bridge, crew quarters, passenger quarters, common area, galley, infirmary, engine room and the cargo bay. Is there anything else?”
“No, that‘s all.”
They stood there, uncomfortably silent, for a few minutes.
Simon and Xiaofan turned to see a teenage girl joining them in the cargo bay.
“You must be River.”
“She’s named, titled, classified. You know her genus and species.”
Xiaofan looked at Simon.
“She’s… not been well.”
Xiaofan turned back to River.
“My name is…”
“ ‘Vanity. Thy name is woman’.”
“I was going to say Lo Xiaofan Niu. But I suppose one could be called worse things than vanity.”
“He got it wrong though. Men are more vain. Women are insecure.”
River looked at Simon.
“Stop being a boob.”
He looks at her with confusion written all over his face.
River looked back at Xiaofan.
“If there was a time, Vanity, it would be now.”
With that, River scrabbled up the stairs and out of the cargo bay.
“You don’t have to explain. What would you tell me?” Xiaofan moves to the cargo exit. “Your sister seems very nice.”
“She… she’s my sister.”
“Good night, Simon.”
“Good night, Xiaofan. Do you want me to escort you back to your… home... office place?”
“It’s the middle of the afternoon. I’ll be fine.”
Xiaofan turned and left.
Xiaofan sat in her office, between appointments.
There were many things she'd wanted to say to Simon before she left that ship. But, looking at him, she couldn't bring herself to say them. It was if those feelings were older and far away.
She missed the Simon Tam she knew on Osiris. This man was a bird of a different sort entirely.
Her longing was cut short by her intercom.
"Your next appointment has arrived."
"Tell them I'm ready."
Simon sat on the catwalk, looking out at nothing.
It was a rare moment of calm, River with Kaylee, no injuries to patch up, Simon had time to think.
Where would his life be if he'd stayed on Osiris? Would he be with Xiaofan? Head of Surgical Medicine? What would his life be if he'd ignored River's letters?
He sat a moment contemplating.
After a while soul searching, Simon came to a decision.
He didn't want to know.
Sunday, April 20, 2008 7:37 AM
Sunday, April 20, 2008 7:38 AM
Sunday, April 20, 2008 9:47 PM
Sunday, April 20, 2008 11:54 PM
Monday, April 21, 2008 6:21 AM
Monday, April 21, 2008 10:00 AM
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