Transmutations Pt 1 of 3: Wants
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Simon reflects on the wants of the various members of the crew and makes a startling discovery. Simon, River, Jayne NOT S/R/J


Disclaimer: Don't own this...

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Late in the night cycle, you lie awake, Kaylee curled into your front. You woke out of well honed habit, your body knowing your patient in the infirmary will need you even before the alarm you set goes off. But you have a few minutes still, so you turn the alarm off, grateful that you won't have to wake Kaylee and as you wait, enjoying her closeness (finally!), your thoughts turn to the crew.

Everyone on Serenity wants a thing or three. As ship's medic, you are in a unique position. Being the giver of annual exams, occasional smoothers, frequent weaves and far too often bullet removing surgeries (another Plan gone wrong) it allows you ample time to observe the members of the crew and put things together. While Jayne may argue that you sometimes have a hard time figuring out your own from a crack in the hull, the truth is you were always good at reading people. Once you figured out how rules in the Black were different (and that took you getting shot and beaten down a time or two), you're good at it out here, too.

Mal wants to make sure Serenity stays flying. He wants the next Perfect Plan to actually be perfect, for the crew to actually make good money and not be shot. He wants Miranda to mean more than it did to the rest of the 'verse, and he desperately wants to make sure that what's left of their little family stays together. It's that desperation that leads him to finally swallow his pride when Inara announces her intention to return to the Training House. He asks her to stay. She does.

Inara wants time. Time to live. Time to grow. Time to love. She finally tells you the secret of her death. When she makes the decision to stay with Serenity, to stay with her family, to stay with Mal, she needs you to know, to understand the disease that will steal her away and the demands she will eventually make on your infirmary, your time, your supplies. She arranges for her medicine to be delivered to you and asks for your discretion. She hasn't told Mal yet. She doesn't want to.

Zoe wants what all widows who loved their husbands want. She wants Wash back. She wants his Hawaiian shirts back, she wants his childish dinosaur play back, she wants his laughter back. She wants the child he wasn't ready for and now never will be. She is dark and cold and doesn't sleep unless you talk her into a smoother, which you hardly ever can. The crew knows she is not healing, knows she is hurting, and knows there is very little they can do to help her. Instead they do their best to let her know that she still has a family, and that they love her. They want it to help, and eventually, it will.

Jayne has always wanted money, casual sex and weapons. He'll never say it out loud, but since Miranda, the desire for the first has waned sharply, instead being eclipsed by new needs; by the need to protect his family, which extends for the first time beyond his Ma and Mattie, the desire to belong to this family in the way they now belong to him, and the desire for them to want him in return. Earlier that day, you realized the want for the second must be weakening as well – in retrospect, he hasn't been to a whorehouse in months, even when the crew gets the rare extra day planet side. A quick check of his medical records confirms what you only vaguely noted in passing – his requested inoculations have changed. He's down to just standard vaccinations and a sperm blocker. You decide you'll check in with him tomorrow and make sure he understands that just one slip up can be catastrophic. You don't want to lose another family member, either.

Your mei mei. You sigh and tug your ear. Her wants are as many and varied as her multileveled genius, and you're smart enough to accept you'll never figure them all out. But you do understand a few. Now that she's more sane (down to only one injection every few months,) she wants to be accepted as crew. And she is. Although you hate it, and wish it were different, she goes out on jobs now, straps a gun on her hip, on her thigh and on her ankle. She wears a belt that holds several grenades and a wicked looking sheathed knife. Sometimes she reminds you of a more graceful, miniature Jayne, and even now that thought causes you to shudder. Even though you know, know that she can take care of herself, you still worry for her, because she's your mei mei,and you always will. But you know that she cuts down on the number of times someone comes home hurt, and because of that, you stay silent and retreat to Kaylee to wait. She's moved into crew quarters and uses her percentage to buy clothes (which, admittedly fit her better than the clothes you gleaned for her), books and ice planets – a continual challenge to her physical prowess. She has accepted the Weapon and uses it instead of the other way around. She is almost seamless with the rest of the crew, and even she and Jayne get along better.

You wouldn't say they were friends, exactly, but he no longer hurls crazy and moonbrain in her direction like invisible deadly weapons, and if he still occasionally calls her girl, its with the broken in affection of a well used nickname, and not a distancing insult. He no longer scowls when she sits next to him at dinner, and the almost eerie synchronized violence they display at jobs is no longer turned against each other when they reach the safety of the ship. Again,you know that if she could, she would want to be able to offer the crew more privacy for their thoughts, but she's done the best she can to build blocks in her mind and to teach the crew some tricks to build their own blocks. And she's smart enough not to waste time wanting more than that.

Kaylee is the most content out of all of you. She wants her family to be happy (and that includes Serenity), she wants fresh fruit every few stops, and she wants someone warm to love and hold in the cold of the Black. You are doing your best to make sure she always wants that someone to be you.

You are always less certain of yourself than other people, sometimes confusing needs with wants and sometimes the other way around. Before Miranda, you wanted Kaylee, but you didn't understand quite how much, always wrapped up in the next course of treatment. During Miranda, you realized just how deeply you needed her, and now you hope you can keep her forever. She is your light in the black, a ray of strawberry tinged sunshine that makes every situation right. You've bought a ring, and had River hide it because she knows more places to hide than Kaylee knows to seek. You want to ask Kaylee in the perfect way, but realize you'll probably just put your foot in it again. Hopefully, she will continue to see what you mean instead of what you say.

Before Miranda, you wanted, needed to fix River, sure that if you could just select the proper course of treatment, you could make up for not keeping her from the Academy, return her to the fourteen year old girl she was. You poked, you prodded, you medicated. You're still not certain that was the wrong course for the time. But things changed, secrets were lost. It took a while after Miranda, but you finally realized that River didn't need to be fixed, that even if she was, she would never be fourteen again. Even if she hadn't made it to the Academy she wouldn't be that girl now. And while parts of her may be cracked (Jayne would have made a joke about that) you realized she was in the main a whole, beautiful girl, and continuing to wish for the past was just breaking her further. And so your wants changed. Now you just want her to be happy, and hope you can help her with that. You know, even though she considers Serenity home, she still struggles on some days, still worries about what the crew thinks of her, still worries she will be rejected. You want to help her feel at peace, but you aren't sure how yet.

You look at the clock and sigh. A job went bad earlier and Mal was shot by Patience (again.) The subsequent infection has him hooked up to I.V.s in the infirmary and you need to inject antibiotic every few hours. Inara, despite assurances he would be fine, is sleeping on a cot beside him. You carefully crawl over Kaylee, pausing just a moment to bask in her brightness and quietly make your way to the catwalk over the cargo bay. You're halfway across when a low murmuring of voices, one deep, the other soft, catches your attention. Hoping none of the passengers picked up at Whitefall have decided to disobey the directive to stay out of the cargo bay, you creep down the stairs to check. This is your home now, your crew, and you will do what you have to to keep them safe. You edge slowly around the corner of a crate and then stop short at the sight in front of you.

Jayne is sitting on the floor, legs partially obscured by a crate, with River cuddled crosswise in his lap. Your first instinct is to march over to them, rip River off his lap, and demand to know what the hell they thing they're doing. Your time in the Black has taught you not to jump to conclusions though. You may not be a genius like River, but top three percent isn't anything to sniff at, and right now it's telling you something is different here. So, you sit still and put the clues together.

Tangentially, you realize they must be completely wrapped up in each other for neither of their highly honed instincts to warn them of your approach. You were quiet, but you don't fool yourself that you were that quiet. River has her head nestled into Jayne's chest and you realize after a moment that she is completely relaxed in a way that you haven't seen her in a long, long while. Jayne has one hand wrapped loosely around her shoulders, fingers rubbing small circles in the skin of her upper arm, the other hand idly playing with her hair. Their entire postures speak of a deep, comfortable familiarity, and you wonder how long this has been going on.

They're talking too low for you to catch the conversation, but Jayne must have said something amusing because River suddenly gives a little laugh and lifts her head to look at Jayne. He looks down at her and smiles, not a smirk, not a leer, but an actual smile before dropping a brief kiss on her lips and tucking her into his neck. It's at that moment you gasp, because you recognize the look in his eyes. It's the look Wash always gave Zoe, the way you look at Kaylee and the gaze that Mal can now openly show Inara.

It's your gasp that makes them aware of your presence. River's head jerks up, eyes widening. Jayne's arm tightens around her shoulders, his chin jerks up and his eyes and mouth harden in unapologetic defiance. Even as he's preparing for a fight, though, you notice his other hand switch to stroking River's hair in long sweeps that you know are meant to both comfort and reassure.

For just one second, the you of a year ago wants to answer the silent challenge from a past Jayne, wants to commence to yelling at the ape man gone wrong for touching your sister, making a loud enough racket to bring the Captain. To demand that Mal order this relationship to stop, maybe throw the merc off the ship -

But, none of you are the same as you were before Miranda, and because what you want more than anything is for your sister to be happy, you just give the couple a small smile and continue to your infirmary, for once thankful rather than embarrassed that Jayne is better at something than you.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010 8:16 PM


Mighty shiny look at one way the crew could come to be in the aftermath of the BDM, Goddess...especially since it's supposedly clueless Simon summing up the changes wrought by spreading the Word :D

Saturday, October 9, 2010 9:51 AM


I like it very much, it's pretty.
It's an interesting character development fic as well, shows Simon's POV very well


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