Monday, June 27, 2005

!WARNING! !MOVIE SPOILERS! There are so many movie spoilers, in fact, that I cannot even tell you what this is about without spoiling you.


This fic contains HUGE SERENITY MOVIE SPOILERS. Do not read if you do not want to know.

Y O U . H A V E . B E E N . W A R N E D

Author: Rawles {rawles[dot]marie[at]gmail[dot]com} Type: Borderline Gen Genre: Drama Characters: All seven make appearances. God, that feels horrible to type. Summary: Kaylee felt indescribably guilty. Author’s Notes: I was supposed to be writing intelligent thoughts about all the many ways I loved and adored Serenity, this came out of my fingertips instead. I wanted to write Simon/Kaylee fluff...but, uhm, it didn't quite work out that way. If there are any inconsistencies regarding the final parts of the movie and the order in which things take place it can be blamed on the fact that I have only seen the movie once and I was sobbing uncontrollably for the last thirty-five minutes or so.


Afterwards, Serenity was quiet.

Not utter silence, not literally. It had started that way, though. As Serenity sat there, dark and battered, and they tromped back onto her she looked so bad, so wrecked, that the man with the tractor ship asked Mal, incredulously, if he was sure he didn't want "that heap" towed to the nearest scrap belt instead of the docking station. The Captain had just looked at him murderously for a moment, and the man did not speak again.

That sort of silence, of a dead machine, didn't stay, and the sound of the engine turning was one of the first noises that chased it away. Kaylee worked for almost sixteen hours straight to restore main power. It was a labor of love, but also of necessity. Hard to live in a place with no power, and no one wanted to stay anywhere that was not Serenity. So, Kaylee toiled and everyone else who was able wandered about the corridors, took stock of damages, and tried to pick up the little pieces of their lives that had been tossed about in the crash and put them back where they belonged. The first time that the repairs necessitated Kaylee go into the cockpit, she sobbed so hard that her whole body shook and she kept dropping her tools. By the fifth or sixth time she had worked it down to intermittent sniffles and her hands were steady as a surgeon's. Her arms, neck, back, and head all hurt, and she felt ready to drop by the time she got Serenity to sing to her again. The Captain had ordered her to bed then, against her protests that there was still so much to do. He was backed up on that command by a message from Simon, who was supposed to be staying in the station's infirmary for at least thirty-six hours, since somewhere between the funeral and the trip back he'd gotten feverish and started bleeding again. Inara had agreed with soft words and a gentle hand on Kaylee's arm. Jayne had simply threatened to toss Kaylee over his shoulder and deposit her in her bunk himself.

Kaylee dreamed of twisted metal, endless piles of corpses staring at her with accusing eyes, the wet thunk of bullets piercing flesh, and Simon's hands warm on her face. When she woke up, she forewent cleaning her bunk in order to get more parts so that she could start getting secondary systems back online. By the time she came back from her shopping, Simon was back, fifteen hours early, and shuffling around the infirmary, failing to progress very far in his attempt to restore it to its previous immaculate state. Kaylee stood at the door for a moment, arms wrapped tightly around her box of parts, before he noticed her. He said "hello" softly and smiled, and Kaylee wanted to drop the box she was holding and hug him tight as she could for a few hours or days. Because, really, no one had forever. Kaylee understood that now. Instead, she said "hello" back at him, and added "see you later," because she remembered how sore bullets to the gut tended to make a person. Plus, with the exception of maybe getting him to sit down for a bit (the best doctors, apparently, really did make the worst patients), she could be of much more use in many other places. There was so much yet to fix.

As she walked on towards the stairs, Kaylee found River sitting with her back pressed against one of the outer walls of the infirmary, staring ahead intently. Before Kaylee had a chance to ask what River was doing, the younger girl brought one finger to her lips and whispered conspiratorially, "Still my turn," and Kaylee found some small comfort in the knowledge that she no longer had to worry about getting Simon to rest.

They hadn't talked about it. The things that Simon said as they waited for the Reavers to come. Kaylee had held his hand as he lay in bed after his surgery, and the others had gone to retrieve Wash's body. But he was in and out of consciousness and it didn't really seem like a good time. Besides, Kaylee wouldn't really have felt comfortable discussing it while River was perched cross-legged at the foot of Simon's bed, staring at them, anyhow. Her hand had stayed more or less glued to his until she was forced to let go in order to start fixing Serenity, but the words had never come. Kaylee was half-scared that she really didn't want to know what he was thinking, because maybe regrets and admissions of desire under we're-about-to-die circumstances didn't count anymore when life was making a valiant attempt to go back to normal. That was the first bit of quiet that descended.

Kaylee hated herself for thinking about it, for being upset about that or about the couplers that just didn't want to fit or about cutting her hand with a pocket knife while she was trying to shave down a wire to bypass a short. It seemed obscene to expend emotion on the little things and even the not so little things, because most of it didn't matter, and, at least Simon was still alive.

Zoe didn't talk much, except to give status reports to Mal or relay repair orders. She didn't cry either that Kaylee had ever heard or seen. Kaylee wanted to hug her too a bit, but the way that Zoe set her shoulders and clenched her fists and held her head made that seem just as obscene as feeling anything but grief. That was where the larger quiet came from, and spread across the whole boat and settled into everyone. Mal and Inara wouldn't fight, Jayne even stopped saying stupid things, River hadn't thrown a fit of any kind for days, Simon hardly came out of the infirmary, and Kaylee's face felt strange from never smiling.

On the fifth day of repairs, after they'd reattached the port extender, Kaylee marched down to the infirmary with every intention of at least breaking her silence with Simon. When she got there he and River were standing, side-by-side, and his voice was low and controlled as he spoke to a distinguished-looking older man on the Cortex screen. The man had Simon's eyes and jaw, or, rather, Simon had his. Kaylee left without saying a word after she heard Gabriel Tam's pleading tone and Simon's cold response as he terminated the wave, because being abandoned in dire straits by your parents is one thing, and refusing to take them back when straits aren't so dire is a whole other. Kaylee knew better than to intrude.

A few times she just wanted to stand in the middle of the cargo bay and scream. Not just to break the silence, but because she wanted to scream very specific things. She wanted to yell at them all to talk and laugh and be again, because dinner conversations that were all business, and hours fixing and cleaning and repairing without a single joke or argument, and constant, unrelenting, silent sadness were choking her, squeezing out the life. And, oh God, Kaylee wanted so badly to live again.

On the afternoon of the ninth day, when Simon climbed down into her bunk, Kaylee felt indescribably guilty; more guilty than she ever had in her life, including the time she made out with Jimmy Smeed in her daddy's toolshed even though she knew he was dating Eunice Burke. She felt more need, though, and apparently Simon did too, because he tore her favorite coveralls in the rush for them to be without clothing and they barely made it to her bed. Kaylee didn't really care, especially since he didn't complain that she left a bitemark on his shoulder and scratches on his back during their frantic coupling. She was vaguely aware that she might have half-screamed and half-cried that she loved him at some point, and she wasn't sure if he was ready for that, but there was no taking it back. Plus, it was true and she was so happy to finally just be alive with him that she really couldn't bring herself to care too much. The second time they weren't in the bed at all, because Simon had gotten the idea in his head that he had to go do something that Kaylee really, really didn't care about just then, so she convinced him otherwise before he made it up the ladder. River's sudden interest in a live sex show had been worth a shocked shriek from Kaylee and a rather colorful string of profanity from Simon, but they'd learned the lesson and locked the hatch and recovered quickly.

When they showed up for dinner, the Captain, newly returned from hunting down work for the quickly approaching day when Serenity would fly again, demanded to know why the co-pilot's console in the bridge looked no more fixed than it did before he left that morning. Simon, despite what she was sure were his best efforts, blushed quite fiercely, and Kaylee just shrugged, suppressing a grin, and said that she was busy. Mal pressed on and Inara, who had been smiling in Simon and Kaylee's direction since they'd walked in, said his name warningly. Kaylee did grin when they descended into an argument about her giving him orders on his ship. The argument ended when River suddenly began to explain the process of human copulation in excrutiating detail while looking pointedly at her brother and Kaylee. As Simon hushed River, Mal rolled his eyes, made a face, and told Kaylee that was going to be something she took care of on her own time and not on his. Jayne got it then, and Kaylee found she didn't even mind his crude comments too much, though the same could not be said for Simon.

Zoe sat in silence still, and Kaylee tried not to meet her eyes.

On the last day of repairs, Kaylee asked Inara to stay, and almost knocked the Companion down with a hug when Inara said that she'd "think about it" in a way that Kaylee knew meant she'd already decided in favor of the idea. Kaylee painted her toenails pink as their amiable chatter carried through the thin walls of the passenger dorm and off into the corridors of the ship.

After they were in the black again and the course was set, Kaylee reveled in River's girlish giggling echoing through the cargo bay as Jayne's futile attempt to prove that River couldn't really take him out turned into an impromptu game of tag. Jayne never did catch River, even when Kaylee tried to help, and eventually he grunted something about it all being stupid anyway and having better things to do. Though, as Kaylee wandered off to find Simon, she could still hear Jayne's loud denials of River's assertion that he was a sore loser.

Near bedtime that night, Kaylee and Simon, hand-in-hand, passed Mal and Inara speaking in intimate tones on the catwalk. Mal made another long-suffering face, and Inara laughed her laugh like wind-chimes at Mal's discomfort when Simon paused to pull Kaylee to him and kiss her soundly before they continued on their way.

Early in the morning on the day they were to touch down on Persephone, Kaylee climbed out of her bunk and, before stepping away from the hatch, called down to Simon to remind him that he could be a very happy man if he had the wherewithal to stay awake until she was finished checking the stabilizer on the grav boot. When she turned around, Zoe was stepping out of the bridge. Kaylee stared down at her feet, at the chipped pink polish, and for a moment there was silence and nothing but. Only for a moment, though.

When that moment passed, Kaylee could swear that she could hear Jayne snoring, and the creak of Simon opening one of those old hardbacks that he loved so much, and the crackling of Inara's incense burning in her shuttle, and Mal shuffling about making tea in the mess because he knew Inara would want some when she was finished her prayers, and River, barefoot, padding along the catwalks, her fingers tracing the railings lovingly. And Kaylee knew, just knew, that she heard the engines humming, and that was life too.

Without preamble, Kaylee traversed the few feet that seperated them and threw her arms around Zoe. The other woman stiffened awkwardly, but Kaylee kept her arms around Zoe and her face pressed into the mass of curly hair until Zoe returned the hug one-armed and lightly patted Kaylee's back. There were tears in Kaylee's eyes when she released Zoe, and she sniffled loudly as she backed away.

"I'm so sorry," Kaylee whispered as she turned to make her way down the corridor. One last look over her shoulder saw Zoe nod almost imperceptibly, and Kaylee knew that she had heard.


Monday, June 27, 2005 6:49 PM


Pretty nice, though I wish you had made this into a series of chapters adding a lot more depth to it. But still I liked it. I am curious to see how the fanfic's are going to change after everyone has seen the movie.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 2:29 AM


Brilliant! You perfectly evoked the kind of stumbling emotional damage to be expected after the BDM. I was however very surprised you made no mention of Book or do you have another part planned? Very good and nicely put together. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 5:30 AM


Can't type, there is something in my eye, sniff. Shiny! It does deserve a whole series. You write damage so well. Perhaps other crew perspectives?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 7:26 AM


I have to go ahead and agree with the others. I would like to see this changed into a series, written from each characters perspective. Quite shiny though.

Sunday, August 28, 2005 7:00 AM


see, you made me cry again. boo hoo.

Saturday, January 28, 2006 4:39 PM


Very nice, heartwrenching piece.


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!WARNING! !MOVIE SPOILERS! There are so many movie spoilers, in fact, that I cannot even tell you what this is about without spoiling you.

Everything He Has
Simon wants it all.

Shall We?
Kaylee danced just like she smiled.

Sweet Reality
Who needs dreams?

Without Rest, Without Peace
River has trouble sleeping.

Sometimes it’s hard to know when to let go and when to hold on.

A promise kept.

Exhausted Resistance
Simon has some things on his mind. AU.

Thwarted Union
Mal doesn’t believe in most myths, but he chooses to believe in this one.

Sometimes there’s a second chance to say things left unsaid.