Self Contained Chapter 6
Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chapter 6: More time spent on Serenity, chatting, working things out. The bad guys make progress.


Title: Self Contained

Author: joly

Rating: PG and what not

Genre: Drama-y, Romance-y, Angst-y (maybe), Adventure-y

Pairing: Mostly Simon/Kaylee

Spoilers: All the way to ‘Objects in Space’. But no BDM spoilers. In this story that hasn’t happened yet. We can, however, assume that things have gone all canon-like after ‘Ariel’ and up til this point.

Summary: A continuation of ‘Anti Hero‘. Set significantly after ’Objects in Space’. Xiaofan has to make a quick exit after thugs bust into her practice. She assumes it’s just a robbery gone wrong. But is it ever that simple? It’s now her turn to call on the help of her old friend Simon Tam and the crew of Serenity.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Firefly, the crew, the ‘Verse, any of that stuff. I just like to tell stories. Joss and The Man own the stuff. All the OFC’s are mine and I reserve the right to use them any way I please. I make no money, I expect none. Peace and Blessings.

Thanks: To everyone who read ‘Anti Hero’, much thanks. Makes me all squishy inside.

Distribution: Any where, just let me know so’s I can do a little dance.

Feedback: Please and Thank You. Read and review at your leisure. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Zoe lay next to her sleeping husband, contemplating. Kaylee had made an interesting suggestion. One that a sweet, loving girl might think…

She knew Kaylee meant well. Kaylee knew how much she and Wash meant to each other, she saw the love and wanted to help.

Zoe wasn’t terribly opposed to the idea, but she couldn’t see herself following through with her friend’s idea. She thought about a conversation with the young woman not long after the ‘just have the baby’ conversation.

“I said what I said, but I keep thinkin’ on it. Would I do it? If I knew how my man felt, would I stop takin’ my birth control, go and poke holes in the contraception?” Kaylee sat, legs hanging off her hammock, in the engine room discussing things with Zoe.

“It does sound terribly underhanded.”

“I know it does, Zo. I just…”

“You just want us to be happy.”

“And I know how much a baby would make you both happy.”

“Honey, Wash…”

“He’d be happy. I know he would, he’s just scareda one of ya getting’ hurt or…”


“Yeah,” the younger woman whispered.

Zoe looked despondent, hands clasped together in front of her on her knees, glassy eyed.

“I can’t make him want a baby. Or if he’s like you think, and he keeps talkin’ himself out of it, I can’t seem to find the right words to convince him.”

Kaylee seemed close to following her down the river of tears, then forced herself to smile, look on the bright side, find a ray of hope.

“Maybe it ain’t a mattera words. Show ‘im yer maternal side. Make ‘im feel like a ~pigu~ for keepin’ such a lovin’ ma-to-be from being able to give that lovin' to you an' his baby.”

That made Zoe crack a smile.

“What do you suggest? Start mothering Jayne?” She laughed and poked her friend.

“Well, no, not Jayne. But River, she could always use a Ma. I mean, we’re friends and all, but she really needs a mama soon. The way she’s coming around to the men folk more. And you know Simon’s answer.”

Everyone knew Simon’s answer.


“Yeah, he don’t want her to have no interaction with guys. Well, the ones we usually consort with ain’t worth her time, but when we’re somewhere nice she should be able to talk to a boy here an’ there, see what she likes.”

“Pretty limited selection around here.”

“I mean, we got Cap’n Broody, her brother, a married man and Jayne.”

Zoe thought about it for a second. “Jayne’s been getting’ better.”

“But he’s too old fer her.” She took a breath, “She needs to see what boys her age are like.”

“It's a lovely idea, Kaylee but I can’t just walk up to her and say, ‘I’m going to be handling all the mothering concerns in your life from now on.’”

“No, but you can chat to the Cap’n 'bout Simon and River being able to visit 'Nara so River can learn some womany things, mix with some girls more her age. Or visit with the Shepherd on Haven, boys her age there, good ’uns too, else Shepherd’d sermonize ’em to death.” The two women laughed. “Simon’d be there, wouldn’t be able to fuss too much.”

“Yeah, it seems to be a pretty good idea. So, why don’t you ask the captain?”

“He likes me well enough, I’m his xiaomeimei. But he really listens to you. It'd carry more weight.”

Zoe nodded.

“Could do."

Then she couldn't stop herself from grinning at the thoughts forming in her head.

"So, my role in mothering would be to get other people to mother her.”

“Indirectly, I ‘spose. It‘s a start. And it really would help River… Anyway, Simon needs ta lighten up, let that girl be a girl more often.”

“Well, now you know what you’re job will be. I’ll work on the captain, you’ll work on the doctor.”

Kaylee pinked ever so slightly.

“So, it’s true you had a really good time after that nastiness?”

“We… Worked some things out.”

“I’m sure you did.”

“An’ look at it this way, the whole helping out with River don’t work, you can always start knitting baby booties and leavin’ ’em ‘round the ship,” Kaylee giggled, causing Zoe to laugh a bit as well.


“When are we gonna be able to drop off Doctor Lo?” Mal asked, trying not to sound testy.

“Well, we’ll be able to drop Xiaofan off in about three days. Just a refuel, a quick drop and then, presto, Bellerophon it is.”

“We can’t get to Bellerophon before the next drop?”

“Only if you’re keenly interested in finding out if a Firefly runs on hopes and dreams.”

“So we’ll definitely have to refuel?” The captain didn’t bother to hide the irritation in his voice.

“That is the gist of it. Mal, why are you so keen to get this woman off the boat? She seems nice enough.”

“Got nothin’ to do with her, just tryin’ to move things along all efficient like.”

“Yeah, right.”

“You got somethin’ to say?”

“Nope, just piloting the ship.”

“See that you do.”

Mal turned and left the bridge, making his way to the galley, only to find Xiaofan there nursing a cup of tea.

‘Everywhere I go!’ he thought, then reasoned with himself. Not like it’s a huge boat where he could avoid her for days.

“Nihao, Captain,” she said, then brought the cup to her lips. After another sip she said, “How are you this morning?”

“Evening for me, Doctor Lo.”

She smiled sleepily.

“I don’t think I'm getting used to that. I’m still on Persephone time, I can’t seem to get the flow around here.”

“Not to worry, we’ll have you on Bellerophon three days time.”

More clipped tones from him, avoiding eye contact, pretending to be absorbed with the task in front of him. One he hadn't really decided on, so he was sure he looked a bit of a fool.

“Thank you,” she said awkwardly, noticing his tone of voice.

She worked up the nerve to ask a question.

“Have I done something to offend you, Captain?”

He looked vaguely startled for a moment.

“Nothin in particular I can think of.”

“It’s just a look passes over your face when you see me, just for an instant.”

“What look would that be?”

“Well, sometimes it seems you’ve smelled something foul and occasionally you look at me as if you wished I was anywhere but here.”

“I’m not sure that I know what you mean, but there are foul smells lingerin' about this boat, what with Jayne livin’ here and Simon’s cookin'. Might be that when you see a strange look on my face.”

“What about not wanting me here?”

“I never said that, Doctor Lo.”

“And that. You always call me ‘Doctor Lo’. Not once in the time I’ve been on Serenity have you called me by my given name.”

“Prob’ly true.”

“I’m being paranoid, I’m sure…”

He blew out his breath, not wanting to start this conversation, but still feeling like he was being unfair to her.

“No, you’re not.”

“Excuse me?”

“I do want you offa my boat. Not because I don’t like you, or I think you’re trouble, which may well be possible. That trouble thing.”

“Then what?”

“You remind me… You remind me of somebody.”

“Someone you don’t like?”

“It ain’t that.”

“You won’t go into it?”


She took a deep breath.

“Then stop.”

He finally looked her in the eyes, confused and agitated.


“Stop treating me like her.”

“I never said 'her'.”

“I can’t see a man inspiring that kind of feeling.”

He said nothing.

“But, please, for my well-being and mental health, please refrain from behaving as if I’m some woman you want to forget. Just because my speech patterns or my mannerisms remind you of her. I am not her. And I don’t deserve it.”

More nothing.

Xiaofan drank the last of her tea, took the cup to the washer and then left the galley.

Leaving Mal with his thoughts. Top of which, was to shout at Xiaofan for telling him what to do on his boat. Second, was to tell her it was none of her business. And though he’d worked himself up fairly well, he couldn’t find the real anger he needed to go after her.

She hadn’t said anything particularly untrue. In fact, it had all been true. Instead of following her to shout, or even to apologize, Mal just went to his bunk and pretended to sleep.


A day or so later. Zoe, Wash, Kaylee, Simon, Xiaofan and Jayne were all sitting in the galley discussing the difference between growing up on a Core planet versus the Rim.

“It’s just different on Core worlds,” Simon said nonchalantly, or what he could muster that approached nonchalant.

“In rich families, you mean,” Zoe said.

“I suppose. But they’re trained from a very young age how to behave with other members of society…” Xiaofan stated off hand.

“They?” Wash asked.

“I was born on the Rim. New Hall. No such training there. I had to learn all those things quickly once I got to Osiris.”

“It just seems like a lotta trouble fer nothin’,” Kaylee put in.

“It’s not for nothing. It just… It’s subtle. It’s a way of distinguishing yourself from others. The way you carry yourself, how you speak when you are interacting with a colleague and how you speak to a subordinate,” Simon started. He looked around the assembled group and looked abashed. He turned to Xiaofan. “But I never noticed you change your tone when speaking to different…” He looked at Kaylee and apologized with his eyes. She seemed to accept it, grudgingly.

“Much to the consternation of those around me. It’s one of the reasons I left. I was always being corrected for interacting with someone ‘outside my social strata’.”

“I don’t understand,” Kaylee said, looking confused and concerned.

“And you don’t want to. It’s all garbage anyway. It doesn’t matter. What I want to know is how all of you ended up here on Serenity.”

Zoe spoke up first, “I followed the captain, not much else to be said.”

Kaylee looked a bit sheepish. But Wash spoke next.

“I was being wooed by many a freighter captain. But when I saw this specimen of Amazonian sex-goddess… It was a done deal.”

Jayne snorted, “You took this job fer her?”

“What do you mean ‘her’?” Wash exclaimed. “This woman is a statuesque beauty that could kill you with her thumb and forefinger. How could you not want to just…” He trailed off, the direction of his sentence taking a sharp turn.

“Whatever, Jayne, you’re only here ‘cause Cap’ pays better than the last guy ya worked for,” Kaylee smirked.

Jayne gave a half-thoughtful look and then said, “Mighta been why I started, ain’t why I stayed.”

“Jayne! Are you becfoming thoughtful in your old age,” Zoe play-mocked.

“Ain’t nothin’ thoughtful 'bout me. Jus’… things change here an’ there.”

“I never knew you had it in you,” Wash poked.

“Stow it, little man. Ain’t changed so much I won’t rearrange that sorry face of yours for you.”

Wash didn’t even pretend to feel threatened.

“Kaylee,” Xiaofan said, “You haven’t told us how you came to join the crew of Serenity.”

“Well… I was… visitin’ with… a friend…”

“That ain’t what I heard, Kaylee-girl,” Jayne snickered.

Kaylee's eyes flashed with anger.

“You jus' keep yer mouth shut, Jayne Cobb.”

“Ooooohhhh, gon’ scratch my eyes out?”

“No, Jayne, ya know I’m not a fighter."

Jayne relaxed back in his seat, looking smug.

"But what I could do is mess up the O2 concentration or cut off the climate control in your bunk.”

Jayne blanched and looked somewhat humbled.

“Anyway, I was visitin’ and the mechanic here at the time couldn’t figure what was wrong with the girl. I pointed out it was somethin’ simple, fixed it an’ Cap’ offered me the job.”

“Sounds serendipitous,” Xiaofan mused, smiling at the young woman.

Kaylee looked at her quizzically.

“Like it was fate. It sounds like you were in the place you were destined to be.”

Kaylee smiled sweetly.

“Yeah, jus’ like that.”

“Well, I had enough jawin’, headin’ to my bunk. Y‘all can go on all nostalgic with out me.”

Wash turned to his wife.

“Did he just say ‘nostalgic’?”

“Yes, husband. But he’s right, it’s getting’ late.”

“Time for nighty-night, lamby-toes?” he asked, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

“Come on, lecherous man. I’ll put you to bed.”

They stood and headed out of the galley. They could here them faintly heading away.

“Be gentle, my sweet, for I am frag-”

He was cut off and one could guess how.

Kaylee and Simon both said their goodnights and headed for their beds. Xiaofan had an inkling that they wouldn’t stay separate for long.

She sat there a while staring off at nothing. She was startled out of her reverie after a while by River sidling up next to her and sitting down.

“River…” Xiaofan said, willing her heart rate back to normal.

“Yes,” she said, wistfully. “River.”

“I thought you’d be getting ready for bed like the rest.”

“Internal bio-rhythms autonomous of others.”

“My body clock isn’t on their schedule, either. I want to be tired, but my brain keeps telling me it‘s too early.”

“Think too much.”

“Me or you?”


“Well, you’ve been here longer than me. Is it just the way you are or..” She was going to say something about her… Well, she didn’t know what to call it. Simon had explained that River had been through some trauma, but it didn’t answer for everything.

“Something done, applied to the subconscious, not requested.”

River looked at Xiaofan intently. The doctor felt scrutinized more than any substance under a microscope.

“Displaced, undecided, ill at ease.”

“Yes, that would cover how I feel most of the time. But how do you know?”

“Simon says…” she stopped, some kind of inhibition cutting off her words.

“So, I should ask Simon? Would he tell me?”


“You could tell me. I‘m not dangerous.”

“Too many variables.”

She could see the girl begin tense, the frantic look creeping into her eyes.

“It’s okay, River. Don’t worry. I won’t press.”

“Simon likes you,” the girl said, seeming to calm.

“I am aware.”

“Not like Osiris. Less…”


“Simon needs friends.”

“It seems like he has a few.”

“No such thing as too many friends.”

“I’m Simon’s friend. I hope to stay that way.”

River stood, turned away from Xiaofan and headed toward the cargo bay.

“Good night, River,” Xiaofan called as the young woman left.


It was silent on the bridge of the tall man’s ship. Not even the computers made a sound. He looked away from the view screen and regarded his subordinate, who was now standing at his side.

“Have you located Serenity, Two?”

“Badger’s intel was good. They were indeed at Harris’ Moon. They are off world now.”

“Any contacts?”

“Jed Chen has apparently contracted their services for a delivery, he would not state the drop off location.”

“When will we arrive at Harris’ Moon?”

“Approximately one hour.”

“I will require you to convince Mister Chen that giving us that information is in his best interests.”

“As you say.”

The tall man returned his thoughts to the black before him.

“Closer and closer. Soon we can close the file on this, move on to more interesting quarry”


Please read and review. Xie-xie.



Thursday, May 1, 2008 12:38 PM


Loved the baby bootie line. Great stuff! Such a good read!!


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Capacity Chapter 15

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Just about to set foot on Markham and face the bad. One way or the other.

Capacity Chapter 13
Plot moves forward. People from the past poke there heads in. Serenity is quiet and mournful.

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Mal and the crew find out exactly how horribly they'd been used.

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The crew does not find what they expected on Kerry.

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It’s just not a normal day on Serenity unless somebody gets shot, threatened or beat up.

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It’s a long story… Mal and Ruby bond some more, Xiaofan gets her new face and… then she leaves. Wash and Zoe have a chat and Jayne gets over his issues with Simon and Xiaofan.

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